Coffee - Etymology

The first reference to "coffee" in the English language is in the form chaoua and dates to 1598. In English and other European languages, coffee derives from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, via the Italian caffè. The Turkish word in turn was borrowed from the Arabic: قهوة‎, qahwah.

Arab lexicographers maintain that qahwah originally referred to a type of wine, and gave its etymology, in turn, to the verb قها qaha, signifying "to have no appetite", since this beverage was thought to dull one's hunger.

Several alternative etymologies exist that hold that the Arab form may disguise a loanword from an Ethiopian or African source, suggesting Kaffa, the highland in southwestern Ethiopia as one, since the plant is indigenous to that area.

However, the term used in that region for the berry and plant is bunn, the native name in Shoa being būn.
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Jan 14, 2013