Origin and symbology of "Monsoon rain"

adi at uclink2.berkeley.edu adi at uclink2.berkeley.edu
Wed Oct 26 16:29:30 UTC 1994

>> I understand it derived from the same root as "Mausam" or season. This 
>> word is probably from Persian but some one else can give you better 
>> etymology.
>American Heritage Dictionary lists monsoon as deriving from the
>obsolete Dutch word monssoen, from the Portuguese mon,c~ao, from the
>Arabic mausim. My PLATTS Urdu, Classical Hindi and English Dictionary
>(never far from my side) also shows the Urdu word mausim deriving from
>Arabic mausim (time, season), from the root wasama ('brand,
>describe'). Apparently, Persian does not use this word for the meaning
>of time or season.
Persian does use mausam as a loan word from Arabic, cf. Steingass, p. 1344,
to mean time, season, place of meeting, the season of the Hajj, etc., as
well as in izafat constructions such as mausam-i bahaar, the season of
spring, mausam-i khizaan, autumn, and so on. The Persian usage is probably
the intermediate step for the Urdu borrowing from the Arabic, and then, as
you've shown, the word goes through Portuguese into European languages.

Aditya Behl


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