Friday, 27 August 2021


Though this other Persia etonym that reveals the origin of antidote was a bit too stomach-churning to expand upon, we were reminded with this encounter of another ultimately Persia term that in Yiddish, Polish and Arabic has come to mean chaos. An excellent example of a round trip word, balagan (بالاجان, בלגאן) originally meant an upper chamber, passing via Tartar to Russian where it came to signify a temporary platform constructed for a circus performance, exporting the sense of disorder and associations with buffoonery, applied to everything from the state of one’s car interior to geopolitics. More from Language Hat at the link above.