Every European language’s word for wine is derived from Latin.

Answer: False.

Indeed, Hungarian, Greek, and Turkish have words for wine not derived from Latin. In Hungary, home of Tokaji Aszú, considered one of the great dessert wines of the world, the word for wine is bor. Modern Hungarians are descended from the Magyars, an ancient tribe from the Ural Mountains, who arrived in the region in the ninth century. While the vines and viticultural and winemaking practices they found dated from Roman times, the Magyars introduced their idiosyncratic language, one of the few languages in Europe today that does not belong to the Indo-European language family. With a language that predates the Romans, the Greeks speak of wine using words that include oínos (EE-nohs), derived from the name of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus, and krasí (KRAH-see). The ancient Greeks never drank their wine straight, a practice they deemed “barbaric.” They always diluted it with water in a vase called a kratiras, derived from the word krasis, which means “mixture.” Modern Turkey (which is partly in southeastern Europe) is the product of thousands of years acting as a crossroads between the East and the West. and its language, therefore, is a melting pot of Turkish, Persian, and Arabic. The Turkish word for wine is şarap (SAH-rahp) and comes via the Persian word sharab, meaning both “wine” specifically and “beverage” in general. Wine was so integral to daily life for the Persians that the word for wine derived from the verb sharaba meaning simply “to drink.”

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