giaour

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Turkish gavur, from Persian گور (gaur, pagan, infidel), a variant of گبر (gabr), probably from Arabic كافر (kāfir, unbeliever).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

giaour (plural giaours)

  1. (derogatory, ethnic slur) A non-Muslim, especially a Christian, an infidel; especially as used by Turkish people with particular reference to Christians such as Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Serbs and Assyrians.
    • 1963, Thomas Pynchon, V.,
      We men are not a race of freebooters or giaours; not when our argosies are prey and food to the evil fish-of-metal whose lair is a German U-boat.
    • 2001, Orhan Pamuk, Erdağ M. Göknar (translator), My Name Is Red,
      I shudder in delight when I think of two-hundred-year-old books, dating back to the time of Tamerlane, volumes for which acquisitive giaours gleefully relinquish gold pieces and which they carry all the way back to their own countries [] .
    • 2004, Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, The Giaour, entry in Character Sketches Of Romance, Fiction And The Drama, Volume 2, page 85,
      Byron′s tale called The Giaour is supposed to be told by a Turkish fisherman who had been employed all the day in the gulf of Ægi′na, and landed his boat at night-fall on the Piræus, now called the harbor of Port Leonê. [] The tale is this: Leilah, the beautiful concubine of the Caliph Hasson[sic], falls in love with a giaour, flees from the seraglio, is overtaken by an emir, put to death, and cast into the sea. The giaour cleaves Hassan′s skull, flees for his life, and becomes a monk.

Translations[edit]