See also: malabar



From Arabic مَلَبَار(malabār), first attested in the writings of Iranian scholar Al-Biruni (c. 11th century).[1][2] The second element is Arabic بَرّ(barr, land, ground) or Persian بار(bâr, coast), and the first element is the same as the Byzantine Greek toponym Μαλέ (Malé), mentioned by traveller Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 5th century as a source of pepper exports, concording with modern-day pepper cultivation on the Malabar coast.[3]

Mala ~ Male is, in turn, borrowed from Malayalam മല (mala, mountain). This is also the source of the name of the language: മലയാളം (malayāḷaṃ, literally mountain place). Compare Zanzibar for a possibly similar word formation.

Proper nounEdit


  1. A region in southwestern India, principally the modern state of Kerala.

Derived termsEdit


Malabar (plural Malabars)

  1. A native of Malabar.
    • 1883, Ernst Haeckel, India and Ceylon (page 50)
      The Singhalese dialect seems to have sprung from the Pali language, while the Malabars speak the entirely dissimilar Tamil language.


  1. ^ K. M. Mohamed (1999), “Arab relations with the Malabar coast from 9th to 16th centuries”, in Proceedings of the Indian History Congress[1], volume 60, page 226
  2. ^ Ophira Gamliel (2018), “Jewish Malayalam in Southern India”, in Benjamin Hary and Sarah Bunin Benor, editors, Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present, De Gruyter, page 357
  3. ^ Stefan Faller (2011), “The World According to Cosmas Indicopleustes—Concepts and Illustrations of an Alexandrian Merchant and Monk”, in The Journal of Transcultural Studies[2], volume 2, issue 1