Generally assumed to be borrowed from Median (only found as a title? of persons that are also identified as Mede). Cognate of Avestan 𐬨𐬊𐬖𐬎 (moγu) but probably not of Avestan 𐬨𐬀𐬔𐬀 (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)