Ramadan and Arabic words for foods in SpanishRamadan, the month of fasting for los musulmanes (Muslims) is here. From May the 15th to June the 14th, believers in Islam musn’t have any kind of food nor drink, smoke nor engage in sexual relations from dawn to sunset. This duty commemorates the first revelation of the Corán (Quran) to Mahoma (Muhammad).

Immediately after sunset and before the night pray, Muslims must have something to eat or drink, at least a glass of water, although the majority of believers often prepare large meals for breakfast at night and families gather together to eat and celebrate.

Today Spanishviaskype.com would like to show you some Spanish names of foods that come from Arabic for breaking the fast.

5 Arabic Words To Eat After Sunset

Muslims occupied the Iberian Peninsula for eight centuries and that influence left a mark on the Castilian language first, and the Spanish language later; not for nothing, about the 8% of Spanish vocabulary comes from Arabic. We are not referring to archaisms at all. Remember that one of our most used and well-known terms is ojalá. Here you can read about its origin.

However, one of the lexical fields with more Arabic words is maybe the food.


Round or square (trending in Japan) watermelons, it doesn’t matter the shape, are the favourite fruit for Spaniards in summertime. As it’s not formed by the typical prefix –al, perhaps you don’t suspect that it has an Arabic origin. Actually, ‘sindíyya’ means ‘from Sindh’, a región in Pakistan, where this fruit came from. Sindh is also the name of the river that crosses that land. It evolved into ‘Indo’, that is the current name of the river, origin of India.


‘Safunnārya’ was the Arabic word that prevailed over Greek ‘karoton’, that was prefered by most of Romance and Germanic languages (‘carrot’ in English, ‘carotte’ in French or ‘karotte’ in German). In spite of everything, Arabic probably based its word on Greek ‘staphylinos’.


El oro verde (the green gold) as it’s known in Spain, comes from ‘azzayt’, that evolved from Aramaic ‘zayta’, meaning ‘olive juice’. Aceite lives together with óleo (oil) in our vocabulary, remaining this last one only for specific uses, such as oil painting or for religious ceremonies: ahí tenemos una pintura al óleo del maestro Goya; and also, el sacerdote impuso los santos óleos a los enfermos.


The English and French language called this leafy vegetable (Swiss chard) as the nationality of the botanist who classified the plant, the Swiss Gaspard Bauhin. However, the Spanish language opted for the Greek origin, ‘sikelos’, through the Arabic ‘al-silqah’. ‘Sikelos’ came from Sikelia, the Greek name for Sicily, the Italian island where they found this plant for the first time. Swiss or Italian, no matter, it’s a healthy vegetable anyway.


We think that if you only break the fast eating the previous four foods, vas a parecer un fideo (you will look like a noodle). This famous kind of pasta came from Arabic ‘fidaws’, meaning ‘what overflows’, maybe referring to how this pasta grows and overflows from the pot when it’s boiling.

¡Que aproveche! (enjoy your meal). If you also want to enjoy studing Spanish via Skype, don’t hesitate and reserve a free trial lesson here. If you are fasting because of Ramadan, don’t worry, we promise we will not talk about food during your lessons.