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Arabic for Economists

A number of English terms that have applications in modern economics stem from Arabic words associated with commerce and computation, for example:

algebra (noun)

calculation by symbols, from al-jebr, combination

algorithm (noun)

a problem-solving rule, from al-Khwarazmi, the ninth-century mathematician Abu Ja'far Mohammed ben Musa of Khorezm (Khiva), the territory of which is divided between present-day Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

calibrate (transitive verb)

fix the values of, from qãlib, mould or last.

cipher (noun)

numeral, sign, code, from çifr, zero or empty; see also zero.

hazard (noun)

risk, or game of chance, from al zãr, the die.

tariff (noun)

a list of charges or duties, from ta'rif, explanation or account.

zero (noun)

nought, from çifr, zero or empty; see also cipher.

Mark Harrison

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