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Certainly most dictionaries give the etymology simply as "Turkish yoğurt" but it's actually more interesting.

Turkish until 1928 used the Arabic alphabet yet most dictionaries say the term came into English centuries before this.

The letter ğ did not exist in any alphabet as far as I can determine prior to 1928, and does not seem to have been used for the original Arabic / Ottoman letter غ prior to this time.

Most English dictionaries do not use Arabic script for any languages in their etymology sections.

Modern Turkish Latin script is an apparently pretty convenient way for dictionary makers to transcribe Turkish words even from Ottoman times.

Currently our entry implies via its templates and categories that "yoghurt" is borrowed both from Ottoman Turkish and Modern Turkish. For English unlike French this is clearly not the case or English would also not pronounce the g(h).

So is the English word a descendant of both the Ottoman word and the modern word, or are our templates and categories wrong and most dictionaries oversimplified to the point of being misleading? — hippietrail 00:50, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Ottoman Turkish is more of a literary style than a different language. The Turkish people a hundred years ago when Ottoman Turkish was being written spoke Modern Turkish. In the 1920’s, a new literary style was mandated, which dropped the unfamiliar Arab and Persian words in favor of the extant, standard Turkish ones, and to be written with a new alphabet.
I don’t know what you mean about ""or English would also not pronounce the g(h)". How do you think we would pronounce a Turkish gh in a word adopted into English? —Stephen 01:31, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Apparently it used to be pronounced as a voiced velar fricative and still is in some dialects. This is the reason that ğ exists now and why the Arabic letter غ which has a similar sound was used before. Neither Arabic nor Persian has any equivalent to the standard/modern/Istanbul ğ. — hippietrail 02:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I have not heard that sound used in English before. In the U.S., it would be pronounced as a hard g regardless of the original Turkish, Arabic, or Persian pronunciation. It’s only in a few set words of Germanic origin (via Old English) such as laugh and bough, that we give gh a special sound, but it still isn’t a voiced velar fricative. —Stephen 02:30, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry I misread. Thought you asked how it would be pronounced in Turkish. I can't guess as to how we would pronounce it in fact - gh is notorious for having possibly more pronunciations than any other English digraph. English actually has quite a few spellings for this word which usually shows some unstability. Yoghurt seems to be the more traditional with gh being the usual non-diacritic way to transcribe the arabic letter غ and I assume yogurt is a simplification of that. In English sound/spelling correspondences seem to play much more of a role in the development of this word that how it was pronounced or spelled in its original language. But this is important in an etymology. Are there other English words that have borrowed Turkic words with غ / ğ ? — hippietrail 03:13, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Just a comment for the Ottoman era. The term "Ottoman Turkish" does not mean "the Turkish language spoken in the Ottoman era". It was rather a written variety used by the Ottoman elites for administrative and literary purposes only. The mainstream language was ordinary Turkish used by the vast majority of the Ottoman Turkish population. --Chapultepec 02:35, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Indeed Ottoman Turkish seems to be one of those slippery terms. ISO 639 does in fact define Ottoman Turkish as pre-1928 Turkish. I'm pretty sure I've come across conversations in the past where nationalistic Turks were arguing that Ottoman was a competely different language. The term language is often applied in various ways. One is in a linguistic way where mutual comprehension is the important factor. I don't know if post-reform Turkish with its French and English borrowings and new invented terminology would be mutually comprehensible with pre-reform Turksh with Arabic and Persian without the education that the Turks received. Another way in which the term language is applied is based on political foundations and standardized language forms viz-a-viz the Scandinavian languages, standard Arabic, standard Malay, standard Estonian, the languages of the former Yugoslavia. I don't know where Ottoman and modern Turkish would fall precisely by each view other than to say that sometimes some people say they are the same language and sometimes some people say they are not the same language, and I'm in no position to judge it either way. — hippietrail 03:26, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Not many adoptions from Turkish. A few proper nouns such as Oğuz, and probably some foods and entertainment items such as narghile.
Some might consider Ottoman Turkish a different language because it made much use of Arabic and Persian loans that were not used in the standard language. That’s why there was such a high incidence of illiteracy among Turks of that time. The Arabic alphabet was difficult to learn and only university students and graduates understood the Arabic and Persian literary words. Most Turkish people could not read Ottoman Turkish, and didn’t understand it if it was read to them. It was the same language, but all of those literary borrowings were really not Turkish at all. —Stephen 03:32, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
It is natural for Ottoman Turkish to be defined pre-1928, since it was the written variety used before 1928. But it does not mean that there was no ordinary spoken Turkish in the Ottoman era. Stephen has given a good explanation just above. For the etymologies, I would rather stick to the references. --Chapultepec 03:40, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Ah yes and it is the references which are the main part of this discussion which has still not been addressed. That being that most dictionaries indicate that English yog(h)urt comes from Turkish yoğurt, which is clearly not quite true since no such written term yoğurt existed until several centuries after yog(h)urt was already an English word. If it was borrowed from a written term it was borrowed from the Ottoman form and if it was borrowed from a spoken term then yoğurt is misleading since the letter ğ was not yet invented. Does anybody have access to an English dictionary from before 1928 with an etymology for yog(h)urt? How did we used to romanize Turkish in dictionaries? — hippietrail 03:58, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Just to answer myself it turns out the OED itself does not go in for the modern Turkish spelling in its etymology. It has "[Turkish yōghurt.]" — hippietrail 04:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Words generally don't get loaned from written, but spoken language. There was no letter ğ at that time, but of course there was the corresponding sound. Here is another etymological source that gives a detailed explanation. --Chapultepec 04:13, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I woudn't say that's strictly true. Literary languages certainly borrow from each other and the common language certainly borrows literary terms. English has extensive literary borrowing from Latin which is now in everyday speech. And in English spelling pronunciations are very common both in modern times and through the course of the etymologies of many older words. This particular word could go either way. In current standard Englishes the g is always pronounced. In current standard Turkish the g is not pronounced. Whether English borrowed by sound from a time or place where غ was pronounced as a voiced velar fricative, or whether it borrowed by writing from transliterations with a standard gh for غ and then pronounced as written seems not to be established at all.
Indeed there were two corresponding "sounds". The voiced velar fricative and the silent pronunciation. The modern Turkish Latin ğ seems to have been consciously devised to allow for both pronunciations. If the reformers had wanted to enforce the Istanbul pronunciation as the only legitimate one they could have simply done away with this letter altogether. I don't know whether their reasons were to embrace the various dialects or to keep it as an etymologicial marker showing kinship with other Turkic languages.
I respect Douglas Harper very much but like most of us here he's not a trained etymologist and doesn't often provide his soures. "Mispronunciation" could be his assumption rather than pure fact. I've certainly never seen ğ described as being like w before. Maybe he's trying to say it is something like a semivowel? — hippietrail 05:30, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
In Istanbul Turkish, ğ is not inconsequential. Although it is silent, it makes the preceding vowel long...really long. It’s the same as pronouning the ğ as in other dialects, but replacing it with a copy of the preceding vowel. —Stephen 06:12, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but as far as I know, words generally get loaned from the spoken language. Of course there are examples of loanings between literary languages, just like Latin loanwords in English. But let's not forget that Latin is a dead language for hundreds of years.--Chapultepec 06:36, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
What a special word this is to have escaped this general pattern then! Especially when it's twin which did follow the pattern, yaourt, has not fared so well in English. — hippietrail 10:41, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I believe yaourt was borrowed through French and it has an alien sound for English, as well as a very weird spelling that hardly anybody can remember. The word yogurt fits English phonology and orthography very nicely. —Stephen 15:39, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I made the same assumption actually, but the OED says otherwise. It says "Turkish yōghurt (with quiescent gh) YOGURT.]" There's no entry for it in my Webster's Third to compare. OED says it came into English in the 19th century. So either the standard Turkish pronunciation had changed since yog(h)urt was borrowed, or yog(h)urt was borrowed from a regional dialect, or yog(h)urt was influenced by spelling pronunciation and yaourt was not.
Also it seems a bit unclear whether yog(h)urt refer to the same or different things. Our def for yaourt calls it a "liquor" which made me think it must be alcoholic. The OED also calls it a liquor so I looked up the wording of the OED def for yog(h)urt - which also uses the word liquor, leaving me no more enlightened. Let me quote in full:

YAOURT A fermented liquor made by the Turks from milk.

YOGURT Properly, a sour fermented liquor made from milk, used in Turkey and other countries of the Levant; now common in many English-speaking countries as a commercial semi-solid, often flavoured, foodstuff.

From this I take it that English yaourt refers to the original type of yog(h)urt specifically whereas the sense of English yog(h)urt has expanded away from the original Turkish food but technically still covers yaourt. Both of our current defs could probably benefit from a little rewording. — hippietrail 01:12, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you are misunderstanding what is meant. I don’t have access to the OED and don’t know its practices, but British English seems to accept French spellings easily, while American English doesn’t. As far as I’m concerned, yaourt is not English, it’s French, and it wasn’t English that borrowed it from Turkish, but French that did so. I suspect its presence in the OED is just the British acceptance of French spellings.
I don’t think Turkish underwent the pronunciation shift that you refer to. I think you’re trying to create a false history to fit your interpretation of what you are reading.
I don’t see any difference in the above definitions of yaout and yoghurt. As I see it, both describe modern yogurt, with the only difference being that we now use a tightly controlled, cultured yeast for safety and consistent product. Otherwise, it’s just a fermented liquor made from milk. —Stephen 01:45, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
No the OED doesn't include yaourt among the spellings of yog(h)urt. It has its own entry with its own alternative spellings. Yaourt seems to be a rare English word as well as a French word. Wiktionary also had entries for yaourt as both an English word and as a French word though Wikipedia has no entry on Yaourt. The alternative spellings listed in the OED for yaourt are much less French looking.
On another note, I have found the perfect word to compare. English aga, agha came into English about the same time as yog(h)urt but this time dictionaries are much more divided on how to spell the Turkish original in their etymology sections. The OED goes with aghā and other dictionaries go with that or agha. Websters Third and others go with the modern Turkish spelling ağa.
On Turkish pronunciation I assure you I have no first-hand knowledge of Turkish. Only what I read on the internet which is very murky, and I thought it would be enlightening to bring a discussion here to learn from some more expert people an area whch could do with clarification that will be helpful to all dictionary users and etymology afficionados. — hippietrail 01:54, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I just think you are reading WAY too much into this. English borrowed yog(h)urt from Turkish. We pronounced a hard g regardless of whether it comes from ğ or غ, and regardless of how the Turks pronounce those letters. Whether there was a pronunciation shift or a different dialect in ascendence, English pronounces a hard g. Likewise we pronounce a kw for Qantas, no matter how it was originally pronounced. Yaourt is French and the French borrowed it based on actual pronunciation, as the French are wont to do, but yaourt really breaks the laws of English phonology, not to mention spelling, and we don’t like that word. We need a consonant between those two vowels, and we don’t like an "ourt" syllable anyway. We like to say "ert", and to keep the e from softening the g, we like the u and maybe even the h. —Stephen 02:04, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

(back to the left) I've never disputed the pronunciations. There are two major English pronunciations, both having a hard g. I've only questioned whether dictionaries have sufficiently throrough or consistent information on English words from Turkish words with ğ / غ. I've also pondered why they might be inconsistent. You seem to be saying that the English hard g is arbitrary whereas Chapultepec says that English generally borrows words by sound.

I don't think the French word yaourt is relevant at all. I've only spoken of the rare English word yaourt which the OED says was borrowed from Turkish, not from French. — hippietrail 02:33, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Just one amendment. I didn't say English generally borrows words by sound. What I said was there didn't exist the modern letter ğ at that time, but of course there was the corresponding sound.--Chapultepec 02:44, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

From Wiktionary:Requests for etymology[edit]

The above page is being deleted (most likely) so here are the only requests that were on it. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:22, 13 August 2009 (UTC)


-- 19:38, 2 October 2006 (UTC)


--Connel MacKenzie 16:00, 4 October 2006 (UTC)


--Connel MacKenzie 16:01, 4 October 2006 (UTC)


There is no etymological entry for the word "royalty," in the sense of Wiktionary's definition #4:

4. (by extension) payment made to a writer, composer, inventor etc. for the sale or use of intellectual property, invention etc.

Macmillan's Dictionary for Students (Copyright (c) 1984, Macmillan Publishing Company) provides the following derivation:

Old French roialte kingship, from roial regal, kingly. See ROYAL.

Being that the preceding definitions of the word are unrelated to this sense (monetary compensation vs. words describing a ruling caste,) I would be interested in seeing how this particular definition came to be. I imagine it concerns the feudal taxation/tithing of "owner/monarch" to "user/fief," as "artist" to "consumer," but a more precise derivation would be fascinating.

--Caen 00:52, 22 April 2007 (UTC)


  • Both the and AHD links point to the same place. I assume this is an error?
  • The inline reference system is very rarely used here on the English Wiktionary and I don't know how to use it to make a reference to the OED for which I have no URL since I'm using a physical print edition. — hippietrail 04:15, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
You can find both and AHD references in the same online page, and you can supply your reference without giving any hyperlink. --Chapultepec 04:18, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Fixed.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 12:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Mongolian translation is curious[edit]

The Mongolian translation given is айраг, which is curious since айраг is actually fermented mare's milk (with a slightly alcoholic content). Айраг is normally called koumiss in English.

From my experience the normal Mongolian word for yoghurt is тараг.

Fixed. This is something that you can fix yourself. —Stephen (Talk) 22:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)



The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for moves, mergers and splits.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

Yoghurt -> Yogurt

I am looking for comment with regards to the primary dictionary entry for the word "Yoghurt".
I believe that primary usage is predominantly "Yogurt", and as such would be a better place for the primary entry.

With regards to other dictionaries: "Yogurt" is the primary dictionary entry for the word in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (, American Heritage Dictionary (, Oxford English Dictionary (, Cambridge University Dictionary (, and the Collins English Dictionary (
With regards to encyclopedias: "Yogurt" is the primary encyclopedia entry for the word in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (, MSN Encarta (, and at Wikipedia (
With regards to manufacturers: "Yogurt" is used by Groupe Danone, the largest manufacturer of Yogurt in the World (Labels: USA/GBR/CAN). "Yogurt" is used by Yoplait, the second largest manufacturer of Yogurt in the World (USA/GBR/CAN). As does Stonyfield (worlds third largest manufacturer of yogurt, and largest of Organic yogurt). As does Arla, Brown Cow, Fage S.A. (in English locales), Müller (German, sells in UK), Rachel's Organic, and Yeo Valley.
With regards to industry/trade groups: The dairy industry in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, all use "Yogurt".
With regards to Google hits: "Yogurt" is favoured 85.3 million to 23.9 million (both links contain &pws=0 modifier). At Google Ngram Yogurt vs. Yogurt, English Corpus shows a clear favourite for Yogurt.
Other supporting evidence: The word "Yogurt" is specified in the current Oxford Style Manual (2003) which explains to use Yogurt and to not use -hurt or -ourt, on page 1000. This is in concert with the latest New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2005), again, listing "yogurt". Etymology Online lists "Yogurt" and has no entry or redirect for "Yoghurt".
-Kai445 05:14, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Support, impressive research. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:35, 25 December 2011 (UTC)
I intend to leave this here until at least the year end for the opportunity for more comment, but was wondering how the move process works here at Wikitionary... would I just cut the info from the one page and move it to the other, and visa-versa... or is there some other method used? I'm more familiar with Wikipedia (where an Admin would need to move things when two articles have the same title, to retain history and such). -Kai445 18:26, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
All the content at yoghurt can be copy-pasted to yogurt so long as the edit summary at yogurt indicates where the stuff came from (for attribution purposes, to keep with the license under which edits are released). (IANAL.) Yoghurt would be left a form-of entry, perhaps with {{alternative spelling of|yogurt|from=UK|from2=Australia}} as its sole definition line. (It may include its own etymology, though, which would be different from that of yogurt, and may include its own pronunciation section and other things: just no separate definitions, 'nyms, translations, derived terms, related terms, descendants, or "see also" links (unless they are relevant to it more than to yogurt).​—msh210 (talk) 01:11, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Support. Also, yoghurt appears to be used only in British English (compare Ngram of British English and American English), so the entry should probably be marked as such after the move. --Yair rand 23:36, 27 December 2011 (UTC)
Support per Mg.​—msh210 (talk) 01:11, 28 December 2011 (UTC)
Support But don't forget the bilingual Canadian product-label spelling yogourtMichael Z. 2011-12-28 19:32 z
Do we want to swap the page histories? It can be done, by moving the pages using a third bogus title. Problem is yogurt has an Italian section, were it not for that, this would be an ideal spot to do it. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:05, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Happy New Year! How about a little of both, where the bogus move is used, but with a copy/paste of the Italian section? -Kai445 19:41, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Suits me, will wait for further comment before doing it. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:56, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Support: make "yogurt" the main entry and "yoghurt" a secondary one. --Dan Polansky 21:08, 3 January 2012 (UTC)
Support: Kai makes a strong, well-researched case. ~ Robin 16:03, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
Done. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:03, 22 January 2012 (UTC)