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  • 3/12/2011

Nowruz Etymology


The term Nowruz is a Persian compound-word and consists of:

now (Old Persian nava) means "new" and has the following cognates, in English new, in Latin novus, German neu, Sanskrit nava, etc. The Persian pronunciation differs in the many dialects of the language: while the eastern dialects have preserved the original diphthong (IPA: [næuroz]), the western dialects usually pronounce it with a different diphthong (IPA: [nouˈɾuːz]), and some colloquial variants (such as the Tehrani accent) pronounce it with a monophtong (IPA: [noruz]).

rōz (also with various pronuciations, such as rūz, rozh, or roj) means "day" in Middle- and Modern Persian, as well as related languages, such as Kurdish. The original meaning of the word, however, was "light". The term is derived from Avestan *rowch-, itself derived from Proto-Indo-European *leuk- (l <-> r and k<-> ch sound changes are common in Indo-European languages), and is related to Sanskrit ruci, Latin lux and, in fact, English light.

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