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فَرَس -Faras-Horse



The word of the day is: فَرَس Faras or horse (the male is called حِصان ḥisān).

As we have already stated, Faras means horse, but a person who rides a horse (i.e. Horseman or Knight) is called Faaris

Faras al-bahr, means literally horse of the sea, what animal could that be?
You’re right! a seahorse

Fara an-Nahr literally means horse of the river. Not so obvious, but in Arabic this refers etymologically to hippopotamus, a name which also means “horse of the river” in Greek. The prefix “hippo-” is horse in Greek, while potamus is river (like in Meso-potamia, [land] between rivers or بلاد ما بين النهرَيْن).

Final word for today is Faras an-Nabi, literally the Prophet’s horse
This is a hard one! Any guesses?

Well, this actually refers to the Praying Mantis.
The word “Mantis” in Greek means prophet which’s meaning has been maintained in the colloquial Arabic. While the classical and standard appellation for this insect is سُرْعوف (you don’t have to memorize this one). The religious aspect of this word may be attributed to the insect’s “prayer-like” posture with its folded fore-limbs.

Mantises were considered to have supernatural powers such as divination by early civilizations, including Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, and Assyria.


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