The first turquoise was mined by the Egyptians in the Sinai peninsula and the Persians in the Nishapur region of modern-day Iran. Both civilizations traded it with the Turks, who then brought it to Europe. Subsequently, the French named it pierre turqueise, meaning "Turkish stone". That was borrowed into English in the 1560s and it began to be metonymically applied to the color of the mineral in the mid-nineteenth century. Turqueise is from Turk, the Turkish self-appellation, which has an unknown etymology. It may ultimately be from Proto-Turkic turi ("ancestry"), from the Tu-Kin people group (that's a Chinese name, interestingly), or related to words for "strength" or "barbarian". In 2019, turquoise made up 0.000153% of all words used in English-language books.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.