Los Angeles: 'Haboob', the dust storm invading southwestern US these days, might be called as American as Apple Pie or as English as fish and chips but it has its origin in Arabic, a group that analyzes words and their usage says.
When Arizona-based weather forecasters used 'haboob' to describe the fierce wind and dust-storms there were immediate calls to stop the use of that term since it is of Arabic in origin, and might be insulting to American and NATO forces stationed in Arabic-speaking lands, according to the Global Language Monitor (GLM).
"If you find that the word haboob is inappropriate because of its Arabic origin, then you better start thinking about alcohol, algebra, chemistry, guitar, zero, and the hundreds of other words of Arabic origin that are members in excellent standing in contemporary English," says Paul J J Payack, chief word analyst of GLM.
The word, according to an analysis by GLM, is actually considered an English-language word, found in unabridged dictionaries, Internet, print media and scholarly works as least as far back as the 19th century, he says.
"The English language has thousands upon thousands of words that it has borrowed from hundreds of languages over its 1400-year lifespan," Payack adds.