ASSASSIN - Etymology

Etymology

The word assassin is often believed to derive from the word Hashshashin (Persian: حشّاشين, ħashshāshīyīn, also Hashishin, Hashashiyyin, or Assassins), and shares its etymological roots with hashish ( /hæˈʃiːʃ/ or /ˈhæʃiːʃ/; from Arabic: حشيش ḥashīsh). However, it has been strongly argued that this was a point made out of mis-translation, as pointed out by Amin Malouf, and that the origin of the term in Middle Eastern culture comes from phrase Asasiyun, meaning those who follow the Asas; believers in the foundation of faith. It referred to a group that was part of the Nizari branch of the Ismā'īlī Shia. Founded by the Hassan-i Sabbah, the Assassins were active in the fortress of Alamut in Iran from the 8th to the 14th centuries, and also controlled the castle of Masyaf in Syria. The group killed members of the Muslim Abbasid, Seljuq, and Christian Crusader élite for political and religious reasons. Although it is commonly believed that assassins were under the influence of hashish during their killings or during their indoctrination, there is debate as to whether these claims have merit, with many Eastern writers and an increasing number of western academics coming to believe that drug-taking was not the key feature behind the name. The term political assassination, similar in meaning to "swiftboating," is often used as a synonym for a smear campaign. The earliest known literary use of the word assassination is in Macbeth by William Shakespeare (1605).

Read more about this topic:  ASSASSIN

Other articles related to "etymology":

Prague - Etymology and Other Names
... is also related to the modern Czech word práh (threshold) and a legendary etymology connects the name of the city with princess Libuše, prophetess and a wife of mythical founder of the Přem ... The same etymology is associated with the Praga district of Warsaw ...
Passenger Pigeon - Taxonomy and Systematics - Etymology
... In the 18th century, the Passenger Pigeon in Europe was known to the French as tourtre but, in New France, the North American bird was called tourte ... In modern French, the bird is known as the pigeon migrateur ...
Kennesaw, Georgia - History - Etymology
... The name Kennesaw is derived from the Cherokee Indian word gah-nee-sah meaning cemetery, or burial ground. ...
Algae - Etymology and Study
... The etymology is obscure ... The etymology is uncertain, but a strong candidate has long been some word related to the Biblical פוך (pūk), "paint" (if not that word itself), a ...
Zarphatic Language - Etymology
... Zarphatic was written using a variant of the Hebrew alphabet, and first appeared in the 11th century, in glosses to texts of the Hebrew Bible and Talmud written by the great rabbis Rashi and Rabbi Moshe HaDarshan ... Constant expulsions and persecutions, resulting in great waves of Jewish migration, brought about the extinction of this short-lived, but important, language by the end of the 14th century ...

Famous quotes containing the word etymology:

    The universal principle of etymology in all languages: words are carried over from bodies and from the properties of bodies to express the things of the mind and spirit. The order of ideas must follow the order of things.
    Giambattista Vico (1688–1744)

    Semantically, taste is rich and confusing, its etymology as odd and interesting as that of “style.” But while style—deriving from the stylus or pointed rod which Roman scribes used to make marks on wax tablets—suggests activity, taste is more passive.... Etymologically, the word we use derives from the Old French, meaning touch or feel, a sense that is preserved in the current Italian word for a keyboard, tastiera.
    Stephen Bayley, British historian, art critic. “Taste: The Story of an Idea,” Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things, Random House (1991)