Nine Turkish Words That Made It into the English Language


What does the Turkish language have to do with a movie website? Nothing, really. But the List of 9 follows no set course. And there is some relevance to this list. In 2000, my first film, Foreign Correspondents, celebrated its first official sale - to Turkey. Families in Istanbul presumably snuggled up in front of the TV, poured a little coffee, and watched my film. Dubbed in Turkish, I presume, which got me to thinking, "Are there are Turkish words that we use in common English?" There are. I found nine of them.

  1. Divan: A kind of couch.
  2. Caftan: A loose-fitting gown or robe.
  3. Yogurt: Turks invented this popular curdled milk staple. Where would Indian cuisine (not to mention health food freaks) be without it?
  4. Kiosk: One of those weird words that appears throughout the world, untranslated, like "telephone." I guess nobody could think of a better word in their native tongue.
  5. Horde: As in thundering horde.
  6. Coffee: If you are a caffeine addict, you may blame the Turks.
  7. Caviar: Is there such a thing as a caviar addict? If so, blame the Turks for that too.
  8. Tulip: Holland may be famous for this flower, Tiny Tim may have tiptoed through fields of it, but the Turks named it.
  9. Baklava: Even non-Turks enjoy this flaky dessert. (I might also say, even non-flakes enjoy this Turkish dessert.)