Giaour or Gawur (//; Turkish: gâvur, Turkish pronunciation: [ɟaˈvuɾ]; from Persian: گور gâvor;[a] Romanian: ghiaur; Albanian: kaur; Greek: γκιαούρης, romanized: gkiaoúris; Macedonian: каур/ѓаур; Bulgarian: гяур), meaning "infidel", was a slur historically used in the Ottoman Empire for non-Muslims or, more particularly, Christians in the Balkans.
The terms "kafir", "gawur", and "rûm" (the last meaning "Roman" — actually referring to the Greek population, since they were descended from the inhabitants of the Eastern Roman Empire) were commonly used in defters (tax registries) for Orthodox Christians, usually without ethnic distinction. Christian ethnic groups in the Balkan lands of the Ottoman Empire included Greeks (rûm), Bulgarians (bulgar), Serbs (sırp), Christian Albanian (arnavut) and Vlachs (eflak), among others.
The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica described the term as follows:
Giaour (a Turkish adaptation of the Persian gâwr or gōr, an infidel), a word used by the Turks to describe all who are not Mohammedans, with especial reference to Christians. The word, first employed as a term of contempt and reproach, has become so general that in most cases no insult is intended in its use; for example in parts of China, the term foreign devil has become void of offence. A strict analogy to giaour is found in the Arabic kafir, or unbeliever, which is so commonly in use as to have become the proper name of peoples and countries.
During the Tanzimat era (1839-1876), a Hatt-i humayun prohibited the use of the term by Muslims with reference to non-Muslims in order to prevent problems occurring in social relationships.[need quotation to verify]
The Turkish term "giaour" a term of contempt, was applied to these Balkan Christians,
In the Ottoman defters, Orthodox Christians are as a rule recorded as kâfir or gâvur (infidels) or (u)rum.
The application of the word giaour, dog, is forbidden by the Hatt-i-Humayoou [...].