The French and the Aussies have hit upon a way to annoy ISIS: refer to them instead as "Daesh."

So what does “Daesh” mean? According to France24, it is a loose acronym of the Arabic for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham). However, the term is also one of defiance and disrespect.

It is also considered insulting, and the IS (Islamic State) itself doesn’t like the name Daesh one bit.

Beyond the acronym, “Daesh” sounds lie the Arabic “Daes”, meaning “one who crushes something underfoot” as well as “Dahes”, which means “one who sows discord”.

Dahes is also a reference to the Dahes wal Ghabra period of chaos and warfare between Arab tribes which is famous in the Arab world as one of the precursors of the Muslim age.

“Daesh” therefore has considerably negative undertones. There can be little political ambiguity behind the French government’s decision to deploy Daesh as a linguistic weapon.
So now you know.


E Hines said...

I've been calling them ISIS on my blog because I don't recognize their stateliness.

This is better.

Eric Hines

E Hines said...

By the way, the Kurds have been calling them Daesh ("the Daesh") right along.

Eric Hines

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have seen this term before, but did not know why it was being used. I have been using "ISIS" because I knew that Muslims of good will object to that name.


Daesh it is, because "jihadi f*ckheads" is too respectful.

Cass said...

...because "jihadi f*ckheads" is too respectful.

It has a nice ring to it, though!

Grim said...

I've notice my own commitment to avoiding foul language has been waning of late, but I'm trying to restrict it to the Westboro Baptist Church -- and Daesh. Boko Haram, maybe. A few others.

Texan99 said...

"Legitimate targets."

I try very hard to police my language here, as unnaturally as that comes to me. I know my normal style of discourse would upset you.

Grim said...

Honestly, probably not. In real life I'm a biker and drinker of beer who spent a fair bit of time with soldiers deployed at war. I police my language here because it's an aid to thought: it helps force me to keep thinking of my opponents (and even my enemies) as human beings, and to engage their ideas instead of dismissing them as wicked or evil or subhuman slaves of a bad idea. Likewise, it allows us to have useful discussions that would otherwise never happen. At times we even get liberals and progressives drifting in, for a week or a few months, although that hasn't happened in a while. Still, I want them to be treated fairly and respectfully if they do happen in. The internet is a public place, as Cassandra sometimes reminds me.

However, there are some limit cases where I can't always restrain myself.

Texan99 said...

I was teasing you. I dare say in real life you wouldn't have recourse to a fainting couch to hear me talk. It's not only at your site that I try to restrict myself to reasonably polite English; it's a rule I apply generally to the Internet.

MikeD said...


As I've said in the past, Grim... it's not that I object to you using adult language. But it's so infrequent as to be a surprise. But by all means, we are guests here, and if you wish to let loose with a salty word now and again I will say to you what I said to the nice lady at the school office where I worked for a few months who was horrified that I overheard her say "damn"... I was in the Army, I have most assuredly heard, and said, much worse in my time.

douglas said...

infrequency is the key to being able to use strong language most effectively. An anecdote- my mother was raised in a very sheltered family in many ways (while they stayed a step or two ahead of the Japanese or Communists), and to her, hearing that sort of language had in her a visceral reaction of displeasure. Even though he had done his three and a half years and out in the Army, my father never cursed (at least around us)- presumably trained to that by my mother (and perhaps his own, but I doubt that a bit). I'd never heard him say anything worse than 'crap' or 'damn' in my life. Then one day, he had to engage a woman down the street in a discussion that apparently did not go so smoothly. When he stomped in through the front door, the first words from his mouth were "That woman is a real B___!" Given his normal restraint in such matters, we figured that she was really something to have gotten that reaction. His restraint gained him impact and the assumption that she must have deserved it. Between my mother's desires and his example, I use strong language pretty sparingly- less than my sometimes hot-headed Hungarian wife!