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Sabon arabice sapo.


Sabon is Arabic for Latin sapo {"soap"}.


Wehr (1976): ﺼﺎﺑﻮﻥ /ṣābūn/ "soap".

The Arabic word is taken from Latin sapo, saponis, which through Gallic transmission is in turn ultimately taken from an early Germanic language form, cf. modern reflexes English "soap" and German "Seife".

The word is mentioned in Pliny, 28, 51, 191, ed. Rackham (1938-63: VIII.128, 130): Prodest et sapo, Gallorum hoc inventum rutilandis capillis; fit ex sebo et cinere, optimus fagino et caprino ..., duobus modis, spissus ac liquidus, uterque apud Germanos maiore in usu viris quam feminis. "Soap, an invention of the Gauls, is good for dying hair red; it is made from grease and ashes, i.e. beech ash and goat grease, ... and in two forms, either solid or as a liquid; and with the Germanic tribes both forms are in greater use with men than with women."

Wilf Gunther 24/05/2014

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