Arabs began arriving in what is now Spain in 711, and have had a presence in the country ever since. It is no surprise, then, that about 4000 words, or 8% of the Spanish language, is of Arabic origin. In fact, it is said that most Spanish words that start with “al” are Arabic-derived.
Today, Latin America has the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East. There is estimated to be 17-30 million Arab-Latinxs in Latin America, and celebrities such as Salma Hayek, Shakira, and Majida Issa are of Arab (Lebanese) descent. We thought it fitting, then, to take a look at some of the many words in Spanish with roots in Arabic.