Thursday, March 24, 2011


Kismet \KIZ-met\ or \KIZ-mit\ , noun;
1. Destiny; fate

This word is sort of interesting (to me, anyway) because it's one of the rare English words that doesn't come from the Proto-Indo-European family tree.

It dates to 1834 and comes from Turkish qismet, which is derived from Arabic qismah (or qismat), which means "portion, lot, fate" from the root of qasama ("he divided").

Turkish is a Turkic language, which is a branch of the proposed Altaic language family. Because it's 'proposed', it means that not everyone agrees that the languages involved are related. If proponents are to be believed, the Altaic family includes Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, and possibly Japonic languages, plus the Korean language isolate.

Arabic, on the other hand, is part of the Afro-asiatic language family, which is huge. It branches into Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, Egyptian, Omotic, and Semitic. Arabic, along with Hebrew and others, are part of the Semitic branch.

Today's word and the first definition were both taken from's 'Word of the Day' for Thursday, March 24
Etymologies come from the Oxford English Dictionary and/or

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