Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”
One new word this week (which shows that I read pretty easy books during the Read-a-thon!). This is from page 21 of Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert:
This stretch of traveling never had the feeling of a carefree adventure anyhow. It felt more like an expulsion, a hegira.
I wanted to use the Oxford English Dictionary, but they have redone their website and the link from my library is broken so I don’t have free access at the moment (I reported the problem). So here is the definition from my print dictionary, Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1979:
hegira also hejira n [the Hegira, flight of Muhammad from Mecca in A.D. 622, fr. ML, fr. Ar hijrah, lit., flight]: a journey esp. when undertaken to escape from dangerous or undesirable situation: EXODUS
In the etymology, ML stands for Medieval Latin and Ar for Arabic.
I’m a bit surprised that this word isn’t used more. A great many people, including Arabic speakers, have been undertaking a hegira in north Africa recently. They are surely using that word or something similar. Since there is a related English word, it seems like we could be using it as well.