Generally assumed to be a loanword from Median (only found as a title? of persons that are also identified as Mede). Cognate of Avestan [script needed] (moġu-) but probably not of Avestan [script needed] (maga-) (cognate with Sanskrit मघ (magha-, “gift”)). Crucially, Middle Persian mgwpt' (mowbed, “Mazdean priest”) does not descend from Old Persian/Median magu-.
- The meaning of this term is uncertain. It is a hapax legomenon known only from the Behistun inscription where it is used as a title (?) of persons. Sometimes said to be the term for a Zoroastrian priest, or for a magician, or for a sub-tribe of the Medes; these interpretations are formed by Greek Μάγος and μάγος.
Taking Old Persian as representative for all Old Iranian:
- Middle Persian: mgw (moğ, moğw)
- > Ancient Greek: Μάγος (Mágos), μάγος (mágos)
- > Aramaic:
- > Hebrew: מָג (māḡ)