Abke Literally - 'older sister in the Khorezm dialect, but also used as a generic term of respect towards older women.
Abrash - The mottled effect created by subtle differences that affect anything dyed naturally. This can also be more notice-able in a carpet where different dye batches with different shades have been used.
Achik - Spicy or sharp-tasting; also a description of objects or substances which can ward off the evil eye.
Agha - Literally 'older brother' in the Khorezm dialect, but also used as a generic term of respect towards older men.
Aksakal - A white-beard (the eldest person).
Amin - Similar to 'Amen', and said at the end of prayers.
Arabesque - Intricate swirling patterns, often incorporating floral motifs.
Beshik - A Central Asian cradle into which swaddled babies are strapped.
Beshik toy - Literally a 'cradle celebration', similar to the christening of a new-born baby.
'Boshka iloyja yoke' - 'There is no other way.'
Caravanserai - A huge courtyard for trading and bartering large quantities of merchandise, surrounded by storage facilities, the upper storey functioning as an inn.
Chowkidor - A guard, often called on to perform other household duties, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Corpuche - A long, narrow, cotton stuffed mattress for sitting on.
Dasturkhan - A tablecloth laid on the floor on which food is placed. The same rules apply as if it were on a table, so walking on it is a big cultural faux pas.
Gok - Literally 'green', describing the first shoots of clover that emerge in spring and are minced and cooked, tasting much like spinach.
Gul - Flower, both literally and as an abstract floral motif in textiles.
Halpa - Either the female folk Islamic equivalent to a mullah (presiding over spiritual gatherings of women such as funerals) or a female singer of folk songs.
Hoja - A title of respect given to someone who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Homom - Public bath-house (pronounced 'Hamam' in Turkish). Older ones are communal with steam rooms and hot marble to lie on. Soviet ones are just shower blocks with the possible addition of a sauna.
Ichan Kala - Literally 'inner city', referring to everything within the city walls of Khiva.
Ikat - A style of dyeing in which warp threads carry the pattern, having been resist-dyed.
Isfan - A dried herb which gives off a pungent smoke when burnt and is reputed to drive away evil spirits or microbes, depending on your worldview.
Iwan - A tall, three-sided building that faces north, usually with a carved wooden pillar or two holding up the side without a wall. This open-air room is shaded from the sun and captures the northern breezes, circulating them and acting as a simple air-conditioner. All traditional dwellings include an iwan.
Jinn - A devil or demon.
Kilim - A flat-woven floor covering which, unlike a carpet, has no knotted pile.
Kelin - A term used to describe both a bride and her position of daughter-/sister-in-law within her husband's family.
Kufic - An ornate stlye of Arabic calligraphy.
Laghman - Thick, hand-stretched noodles, usually served in a meat and vegetable broth.
Madrassah - An Islamic school of learning, usually based on a courtyard layout with residential cells for studying and living in.
Maidan - A central square or plaza.
Majolica - Tiles using a colour palette of white, turquoise and blue, originating from the island of Majorca.
Medallion - Used in carpet terminology to describe a large, irregular, central pendant design surrounded by smaller, floral designs.
Namaz - A Muslim prayer, recited five times a day facing Mecca.
Naqsh - A generic term used to describe patterning or design that can apply to anything from tiling to carved wooden inlay, etc.
Nisholda - A blend of beaten egg-whites, sugar and cream of tartar, eaten raw with bread during Ramazan.
Navruz - One of the largest festivals; celebrated on 21 March, marking spring and the New Year, with Zoroastrian roots.
Non - Traditional flatbread baked in an earthen oven.
Paranja - An all-enveloping covering worn by women in Central Asia along with a horse-hair veil, until banned under Communism.
Plov - The greasy national dish of Uzbekistan, consisting of rice, carrots and mutton.
Ramazan - The Uzbek name for Ramadan - the Muslim month of fasting.
Remont - A Russian term used to describe the continual patching and mending of buildings and cars.
Samovar - A large urn for boiling water and brewing tea.
Samsa - A pastry parcel filled with meat, potato or pumpkin, similar to a samosa.
Shashlik - Skewers of mutton or beef on a stick and cooked over charcoal.
Shelwar kamiz - Cotton baggy pants covered in a long top, commonly worn in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Sumalek - A brown paste made from mashed wheat-shoots, stirred continually for hours and cooked primarily at Navruz.
Suzani - Literally means 'needlework' in Tajik and describes the embroidered tapestries of southern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Tanish bilish - 'Useful connections'; similar to the proverb 'It's not what you know, but who you know that counts.'
Turkestan - A historic term used to describe the area of Middle Asia now occupied by the former Soviet Central Asian states, northern Afghanistan and western China.
Usta - Master at something (of either sex) but also a generic term for a handyman.
Vellum - Skin from the stomach of a sheep or goat and superior to paper in book-making.
Warp - A weaving term describing the vertical threads that make up the backbone of a carpet.
Weft - A weaving term describing the horizontal threads that weave between the warp threads.