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Astronomy IV

  • 1385

Well, finally got some time to do this. This is the last patch for the zodiac sign. Yet, there are many other stars to come out of the zodiac signs (as well as some astronomical terms). Anyway, hope this list adds to your vocabulary. As usual, I've used the diacritics marks at some point but mostly not, in hope that this will get you used to it. Some of these names are also classic in their meanings; Meaning that, in modern Arabic or dialects, we would use a different word for that meaning. But anyhow, I didn't focus on this aspect so much in this list.

Taurus - الثَّوْر (aþ-þawr).

  • Aldebaran: الدَّبَران (ad-dabarán: the follower). It is said this name is given because it appears to follow the Pleiades star cluster in the sky
  • Alnath: النّطْح (an-naŧħ: the butting). A gesture to the horns of Taurus
  • Ain: عَيْن (3ayn: eye). i.e. the eye of Taurus
  • Pleiades: الثُّرَيّا (aþ-þurayyá: the chandelier) Notice that this is actually a cluster of stars and not a single star but in Arabic astronomical culture, the whole group was designated or called as a singular entity with نجم الثريا (najm-uþ-þurayyá), i.e. the chandelier star.

Gemini - الجَوْزاء (al-jawzá')

The Arabic name meaning here is a bit mysterious for me as I couldn't find a linguistic back-up for its meaning except for one instance where it is mentioned that jawzá' is a name given to the black ewe with some white spots in its center. Another meaning that might be deducted (in my opinion) from the name is the double which seems more appropriate here given the shape of the constellation. Anyhow, some people also call it التّوْأَم (at-taw'am), which also means the twin. The latter name is also the common name for real twins.

  • Alhena: الهنعة (al-han3ah: the brand/mark) specifically the brand on a camel's neck
  • Mebsuta: مبسوطة (mabsúŧah: outstretched (paw)).
  • Alzir: الزّر (az-zir: the button).
  • Wasat: وَسَط (wasaŧ: middle).
  • Mekbuda: مقبوضة (maqbúđah: the folded (paw)).

There are some other names and variations of some stars. Some stars do have Arabic names, but they have a proper Latin name which is more famous in the West, like Pollux and Castor; So, I left these out of the list. The two stars, Mebsuta and Mekbuda, are said to be imagined as paws of a lion, despite the fact that this constellation is one constellation away from Leo! There is one star which I couldn't find its real meaning: Tejat. The name is said to be derived from an ancient South Arabian name "taħiyat" تحيت but I couldn't make out the meaning nor make sure of this information as well. Notice that South Arabian dialects were written in a special script which was called Al-Musnad المسند

Cancer - السَّرَطان (as-saraŧán)

The Arabic name means, like the Latin counterpart, the crab. But just to note, there is also another name for the crab as an animal (not as a constellation) which is سلطعون (salŧa3ún). The name سرطان is given as well, like in English "cancer", for the disease.

  • Altarf: الطّرْف (aŧ-ŧarf: the edge/end/limb).
  • Acubens: الزُّبانى (az-zubáná: the claws). Originally the Latin was Açubens

Well, I guess this is it with the main zodiac signs, but there are still more star names out of these constellations, so I'll try to get more time to do more of these hopefully. In the list above, I've encountered various spelling variations for the Latin names but I tried to keep it as short as possible. One particular variation though is for the star Alhena which also has another name in Arabic: الميسان (almaysán), meaning the shining one.

August 26, 2019



Amazing. Especially when I look at your explanation for Gemini (Zwillinge in German ;) ) you really remember me at a friend who also likes to look at the development of languages in your area over thousands of years back. Now I am curious what might be your next topic. ;-) Thanks a lot.

  • 1385

Bitte schön

There are a lot of other stars not part of the zodiac, so I might post about some of them. And there are some few astronomical terms that are derived from Arabic as well.

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