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zarf

[ zahrf ]

noun

  1. (in the Levant) a holder, usually of ornamental metal, for a coffee cup without a handle.


zarf

/ zɑːf /

noun

  1. (esp in the Middle East) a holder, usually ornamental, for a hot coffee cup


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Word History and Origins

Origin of zarf1

First recorded in 1830–40, zarf is from the Arabic word ẓarf vessel, sheath

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Word History and Origins

Origin of zarf1

from Arabic: container, sheath

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More About Zarf

What is a zarf?

Zarf is an informal term for a sleeve, usually made of cardboard, to put on a hot paper cup, like you might get in a coffee shop. The zarf keeps you from burning your hand on the hot cup.

Originally a Levant term, a zarf is traditionally an ornamental metal holder for a coffee cup that doesn’t have a handle. Because coffee drinking became highly ritualized in the Mediterranean area, many zarf were decorated or designed very ornately and would often be expensive items only the rich could afford.

Example: The coffee shop didn’t give me a zarf this morning, and I really burnt my hands on the way to the car.

Where does zarf come from?

The first records of the term zarf in English come from around the 1830s. It comes from the Arabic term ẓarf, meaning “vessel” or “sheath.”

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What are some other forms related to zarf?

  • zurf (alternative spelling)

What are some words that often get used in discussing zarf?

How is zarf used in real life?

Uncommon in English, zarf is mostly used to describe the cardboard sleeves for paper hot cups.

 

Try using zarf!

Is zarf used correctly in the following sentence?

“Janette had a collection of silver zarfs but only one handleless mug to put in them.”

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