fa·la·fel or fe·la·fel (fə-läfəl)
a. A mixture of ground spiced chickpeas or fava beans that is shaped into balls and deep-fried.
b. A fried ball made of such a mixture.
2. A sandwich filled with such balls.
[Levantine colloquial Arabic falāfil, perhaps from pl. of earlier *filfal, from Aramaic pilpāl, small round thing, peppercorn, from palpēl, to be round, roll.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.