Thursday, July 12, 2007

Words I'm Looking Up (One in an occasional series on words I'm looking up)

Webster's New World College Dictionary:


n. an adherent of Islam


n. an advocate or supporter of Islamic, esp. orthodox Islamic, political rule

* * *

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition:


n. 1. also Moslem. A believer in or adherent of Islam

"Islamist" (sub-entry of "Islamism"); "Islamism"

n. An Islamic revivalist movement, often characerized by moral conservaatism, literalism, and the attempt to impement Islamic values in all spheres of life. 2. The religious faith, principles, or cause of Islam.


Brian Orr said...

Hey June,
And where does the word "Imam" come from? A contraction by someone who read Descartes?
"I think therefore Imam"?
Just curious,

June Casagrande said...

I thought it was what all those kids were saying in the grocery store: "IMAAAAHM, I want Cap'n Crunch!"

But, according to Webster's, I'm wrong. It's Arabic (I know you knew that) and it's from the word "amma," meaning "to walk before" or "precede."

Just like "leader"! Hence Webster's definitions:

"1. the leader of prayer in a Muslim mosque

"2. [often] any of various Muslim leaders and rulers, often used as a title."

Sorry it took so long to Descartes my butt back here to answer your question!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't even think "Islamism" would be a word...shows what I know!

June Casagrande said...

Hmmm. Now you've got me curious about the word, Jenny.

Just as I was willing to bet it was a relatively recent coinage, I open my 1933 Oxford Universal Dictionary and see, under "Islam": "Islamic," and its synonym, "Islamitic" -- both meaning "Mohammedan, Moslem." Then, next word, "Islamism," defined as "Mohammedanism."

Now, "Islamitic" -- there's one I've definitely never heard before. And, lo and behold, I open my newest dictionary, the "American Heritage" fourth edition, and see that, nope, it's not there. My "Webster's New World" doesn't seem to have it either.

So: "Islamicism" -- not new. But "Islamitic" -- no longer registering on the dictionaries' radars.


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