Arnaut (Ottoman Turkish: ارناود) is a Turkish ethnonym used to denote Albanians. Arvanid (اروانيد), Arnavud (آرناوود), plural: Arnavudlar (آرناوودلر): modern Turkish: Arnavut, plural: Arnavutlar; are ethnoyms used mainly by Ottoman and contemporary Turks for Albanians with Arnavutça being called the Albanian language.[1][2][3][4]

Arnaut in Cairo, a painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Arnauts in Greece, Voyage Pittoresque en Grèce, 1782


The original Greek ethnonym Άλβανίτης (approx. "Álbanítis"), derived from Άλβάνος ("Álbános"), became Άρβανίτης "Árvanítis" in Modern Greek. The pronunciation of "β" changed from /b/ in ancient Greek to /v/ in Byzantine Greek. This is reflected in the Turkish term, Arnavut or Arnaut, by ways of metathesis (-van- to -nav-).[1][5][6] A related Greek term is Arvanites.

The Ottoman Turks borrowed their name for Albanians after hearing it from the Byzantine Greeks.[5][7]


Ethnic markerEdit

During the Ottoman era, the name was used for ethnic Albanians regardless of their religious affiliations, just like it is today.[8]

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, due to socio-political disturbances by some Albanians in the Balkans, the term was used as an ethnic marker for Albanians in addition to the usual millet religious terminology to identify people in Ottoman state records.[2][9] While the term used in Ottoman sources for the country was Arnavudluk (آرناوودلق) for areas such as modern Albania, Western Macedonia, Southern Serbia, Kosovo, parts of northern Greece and southern Montenegro.[2][9][10] In modern Turkish Arnavutluk refers only to the Republic of Albania.[11]

Transfer to other languagesEdit

The term Arnā'ūṭ (الأرناؤوط) also entered the Arabic language as an exonym for Albanian communities that settled in the Levant during the Ottoman era onward, especially for those residing in Syria.[12] The term Arnaut (Арнаут), plural: Arnauti (Арнаути) has also been borrowed into Balkan South Slavic languages like Bulgarian and within Serbian the term has also acquired pejorative connotations regarding Albanians.[13][1][14]

In Ukraine, Albanians who lived in Budzhak and who later also settled in the Azov Littoral of Zaporizhia Oblast are also known as Arnaut. The city of Odessa has two streets: Great Arnaut Street and Little Arnaut Street.[15]

Albanian Ottoman soldiersEdit

Historically used as an exonym, the Turkish term Arnaut has also been used for instance by some Western Europeans as a synonym for Albanians that were employed as soldiers in the Ottoman army.[8] In Romanian arnăut was used in a similar way, since at least the eighteenth century, for Albanian mercenaries dressed in traditional garb and hired either by the rulers of the Romanian principalities for their court guards, or by the boyars as bodyguards.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Theißen 2007, p. 90. "Der ursprüngliche Name Άλβανίτης (abgeleitet von Άλβάνος) wurde im Neugriechischen zu Άρβανίτης… In türkischer Vermittlung erfuhr die Silbe -van- eine Metathese zu -nav-, so dass die türkische Form des Namens für die Albaner arnavut bzw. arnaut Lautet. In dieser Form gelangte das Wort ins Bulgarische (BER I/1971: 15). [The original name Άλβανίτης (derived from Άλβάνος) was established in Modern Greek to Άρβανίτης .... In Turkish the syllable was experienced and mediated as -van- and by metathesis to -nav- so that the Turkish form of the name for the Albanians became respectively Arnavut or Arnaut. In this form, the word came into Bulgarian (BER I / 1971: 15).]"
  2. ^ a b c Anscombe 2006, pp. 88. "This Albanian participation in brigandage is easier to track than for many other social groups in Ottoman lands, because Albanian (Arnavud) was one of the relatively few ethnic markers regularly added to the usual religious (Muslim-Zimmi) tags used to identify people in state records. These records show that the magnitude of banditry involving Albanians grew through the 1770s and 1780s to reach crisis proportions in the 1790s and 1800s."; p.107. "In light of the recent violent troubles in Kosovo and Macedonia and the strong emotions tied to them, readers are urged most emphatically not to draw either of two unwarranted conclusions from this article: that Albanians are somehow inherently inclined to banditry, or that the extent of Ottoman "Albania" or Arnavudluk (which included parts of present-day northern Greece, western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, Kosovo, and southern Serbia) gives any historical "justification" for the creation of a "Greater Albania" today."
  3. ^ "Arnavudca". Osmanlıcayazılışı. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  4. ^ Kerslake & Göksel 2014, pp. 321.
  5. ^ a b Malcolm, Noel. "Kosovo, a short history". London: Macmillan, 1998, p.29 "The name used in all these references is, allowing for linguistic variations, the same: 'Albanenses' or 'Arbanenses' in Latin, 'Albanoi' or 'Arbanitai' in Byzantine Greek. (The last of these, with an internal switching of consonants, gave rise to the Turkish form 'Arnavud', from which 'Arnaut' was later derived.)"
  6. ^ Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia; Jeffrey E. Cole - 2011, Page 15, "Arbëreshë was the term self-designiation of Albanians before the Ottoman invasion of the 15 century; similar terms are used for Albanian origins populations living in Greece ("Arvanitika," the Greek rendering of Arbëreshë) and Turkey ("Arnaut," Turkish for the Greek term Arvanitika).
  7. ^ Liakos, Antonis. (2012) Hellenisms: culture, identity, and ethnicity from antiquity to modernity. p. 230. "The term "Arvanite" is the medieval equivalent of "Albanian." it is retained today for the descendants of the Albanian tribes that migrated to the Greek lands during a period covering two centuries, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth."
  8. ^ a b Malcolm 2009, pp. 233. "And a further complication is introduced by the term "Arnaut", which could he used as a synonym for "Albanian", hut tended to suggest those Albanians (in the ethnic-linguistic sense) who acted as soldiers for the Ottomans — though these included Catholic Albanians as well as Muslim ones. (When early reports refer to the local Ottoman forces, such as the force led by Mahmut Begolli [Mehmet Beyoğlu], pasha of Peja, they usually state that they consisted largely of Arnauts. Those Serb historians who claim that the terms Arnaut and Albanian did not mean ethnic Albanians, when applied to the supporters of Piccolomini, seem to have no difficulty in accepting that they did have that meaning, when applied to those fighting against him.)"
  9. ^ a b Anscombe 2006b, p. 772. "In this case, however, Ottoman records contain useful information about the ethnicities of the leading actors in the story. In comparison with 'Serbs', who were not a meaningful category to the Ottoman state, its records refer to 'Albanians' more frequently than to many other cultural or linguistic groups. The term 'Arnavud' was used to denote persons who spoke one of the dialects of Albanian, came from mountainous country in the western Balkans (referred to as 'Arnavudluk', and including not only the area now forming the state of Albania but also neighbouring parts of Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro), organized society on the strength of blood ties (family, clan, tribe), engaged predominantly in a mix of settled agriculture and livestock herding, and were notable fighters — a group, in short, difficult to control. Other peoples, such as Georgians, Ahkhaz, Circassians, Tatars, Kurds, and Bedouin Arabs who were frequently identified by their ethnicity, shared similar cultural traits."
  10. ^ Kolovos 2007, p. 41. "Anscombe (ibid., 107 n. 3) notes that Ottoman "Albania" or Arnavudluk... included parts of present-day northern Greece, western Macedonia, southern Montenegro, Kosovo, and southern Serbia"; see also El2. s.v. "Arnawutluk. 6. History" (H. İnalcık) and Arsh, He Alvania. 31.33, 39-40. For the Byzantine period. see Psimouli, Souli. 28."
  11. ^ Emin 2014, pp. 9–17.
  12. ^ Norris 1993, pp. 209–210
  13. ^ Murati 1991, p. 71. "emri etnik a nacional e shqiptarëve, përkundër trajtës së drejtë sllave Albanci, tash del të shqiptohet si Šiptari e Šipci me një konotacion përbuzës negativ, ashtu siç është përdorur në krye të herës te serbët edhe në kohën e Jugosllavisë së Vjetër bashkë dhe me formën Šiftari e Arnauti me po të njëtat konotacione pejorative. [ethnic name or the national one of Albanians, despite the right Slavic term Albanci, now appears to be pronounced as Šiptari of Šipci with a connotation that is contemptuously negative, as it is used in the very beginning of the Serbs era at the time of the old Yugoslavia together and the form Šiftari and Arnauti which have the same pejorative connotations.]"
  14. ^ Državnoj štampariji 1878, p. 347. "зову Арнаут, Арнаутка, па од тог назива доцније им потомци прозову се Арнаутовићи. [...] Арнаучићи зли, пакосни и убојити."
  15. ^ Seven ethnographical miracles of Ukraine. Ukrayinska Pravda. May 13, 2014
  16. ^ Dicționarul explicativ al limbii române (ediția a II-a revăzută și adăugită). Editura Univers Enciclopedic Gold for the Lingvistics Institute of the Romanian Academy. 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2020 – via