From Central Atlas Tamazight ⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖ (amaziɣ) likely brought to European languages via Arabic أَمَازِيغ (ʾamāzīḡ). From the active participle ⴰⵎ (am) and ⴰⵣⵉⵖ (aziɣ), a currently unattested word in Tamazight. Historically Amazigh was identified as meaning “free-man” with suggested connections to “aze” (“to be strong” in Taznatit), or “jeɣeɣ” (“to be brave” in Tamasheq).
With the regular sound change of Tamazight ɣ → Semitic k, q; the corresponding root in Semitic, a fellow Afro-Asiatic language, is ز ك و (z-k-w), which does have the meaning of “free”, “to be purified from excess”, “to dispense of filth or materials”, to improve”, “to free something of inefficiencies”, “to shed its burdens”, “not to be bogged down”, “to allow to thrive or move freely”.
Amazigh (plural Amazighs)
- A Berber.
- The Berber language.
- ^ “زكو” in Edward William Lane (1863), Arabic-English Lexicon, London: Williams & Norgate, pages 1240-1241.