1. A member of any of various Muslim ascetic orders, some of which perform whirling dances and vigorous chanting as acts of ecstatic devotion.
2. One that possesses abundant, often frenzied energy: "[She] is a dervish of unfocused energy, an accident about to happen" (Jane Gross).
[Turkish derviş, mendicant, from Persian darvēš, from Middle Persian driyōš, needy one, one who lives in holy mendicancy, from Old Iranian (Avestan) drigu-; akin to Sanskrit adhriguḥ (a divine epithet of unknown but favorable meaning) : perhaps a-, not + *dhrigu-, poor.]
(click for a larger image)dervish
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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