The name basil is derived from Greek basileus "king",because of the royal fragrance of this herb,the Greek word basileus "king" means essentially "people's leader":bainein "go" and laos "people".
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Basil Etymology:royal fragrance and basileus,King's Herb.:
The name basil is derived from Greek basileus "king", because of the royal fragrance of this herb. The names of basil in almost all European languages are related, although they show some vowel variation: Icelandic basilika, Russian vasilki, Belarusian bazylik, Albanian bozilok, Hungarian bazsalikom, Czech bazalka, Romanian busuioc, Provenal baseli, Basque brasilla and Modern Greek vasilikos. In the era of colonialism, that name was also transferred to a few African languages, e.g., Ewe bebusui and Amharic besobila.
The Greek word basileus "king" means essentially "people's leader": bainein "go" and laos "people". The first element is indeed cognate to both English come and Latin venire (Indo-European root GWEM-), the second has no cognates in Modern English, for Old English leod has been abandoned in favour of Romance "people"; related are German Leute, Old French liode, Lithuanian liaudis "people" and Latin liber "free man" (Indo-European root LEUDH- "grow upwards").
Names like Italian erba reale and French herbe royal "royal herb", or German Knigskraut and Dutch koningskruid "king's herb" are probably calqued from the Greek name. Despite its independent origin, the Quenya name asea aranion bears the same association: aran "king".
Iberic names of basil (Spanish albahaca, Portuguese alfavaca and Catalan alfabrega, also Basque albaraka) are Arabic loans, as might be inferred from the prefix al-. The original Arabic form is al-habaqa "the basil"; cf. also Maltese abaq and see caper for more examples of Arabic vocabulary in Spanish and Portuguese. In contemporary Arabic as spoken in Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean, habaq has become rather uncommon and mostly supplanted by raihan. The latter name has close relatives in many languages of the Middle East, e.g., Turkish reyhan, Hebrew rehan, Georgian rehani, Kurdish dhaihan and Farsi rihan.
Raihan is derived from Arabic rih or riha"odour, fragrance" and originally did not mean basil but another aromatic Mediterranean plant, myrtle. This is still so in North African Arabic (and Maltese); moreover, the word has been transferred to medieval Spanish as arrayan "myrtle".
The genus name Ocimum is a latinized version of the Greek plant name okimon , by which basil is referred to in the work of Dioskurides. It derives from the verb ozein "smell" (cf. ozone "the smelling one" and English odour).
Indic names for holy basil, e.g., Telugu tulsichettu , Tamil tulasi and Hindi tulsi , derive from Sanskrit tulasi; for the latter name, no satisfying etymology is known. To distinguish holy basil more clearly from the European variety, compound names can be used, e.g., Hindi janglitulsi "forest basil" or Urdu kali tulsi "dark basil", referring to the reddish hue of the leaves.
The Vietnamese name rau que [rau qu] "cinnamon plant" (emphasized hung que "cinnamon basil") alludes to the sweet-aromatic odour of some cultivars like Thai horapha, although this is more close to anise than to cinnamon. There are indeed cinnamon-flavoured basil varieties, but these are, to my knowledge, not known in Vietnam.
- 1.The name basil is derived from Greek basileus "king",because of the royal fragrance of this herb,the Greek word basileus "king" means essentially "people's leader":bainein "go" and laos "people".
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