BERJĪS, Arabic word listed in the dictionaries as meaning the planet Jupiter (usually al-Moštarī in Arabic, Hormozd in Persian).
Perhaps the most likely explanation of the word is that Berjīs was an original Bedouin name for the big, bright planet and had the astrological connotation of “water giving” or “milk giving,” a notion that would come naturally to the nomadic mind. This hypothesis is based on the possibility that the Arabic root bajasa (e/o), from which comes the adjective bajs or bajīs “abundantly flowing, pouring forth,” could be amplified by infixation of an intensifying r to form barjasa and therewith “birjīs” on the pattern of the noun form “qittīl” or “qitlīl.” This seems likely because the dictionaries attest another use of the word berjīs, as a feminine noun meaning “she-camel which gives abundant milk.”
Less likely the word might be a borrowing, either from a Greek or Latin original ending in s or from a Persian original, such as *apargēs “hairy” in the sense of “radiant” or even aparvēž/z “victorious”, but apargēs is not attested and derivation from aparvēž presents phonetic difficulties. (On these possibilities, see W. Eilers, “Stern-Planet-Regenbogen. Zur Nomenklatur der orientalischen Himmelskunde,” in Der Orient in der Forschung, Festschrift für Otto Spies, 1967, pp. 125ff., 134ff.; idem, “Sinn und Herkunft der Planetennamen,” Sb. der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich, 1976, no. 5, pp. 281ff.).
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
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Vol. IV, Fasc. 2, pp. 164-165