Betelgeuse Betelgeuse began as yad al-jawzā, normally translated as hand of the jawzā and interpreted as Gemini. After Greek astronomy became known to the Arabs, the word came to be applied to the constellation Orion as well. Some centuries later, when scribes writing in Medieval Latin tried to render the word, they misread the y as a b (the two corresponding Arabic letters are very similar when used as the first letter in a word), leading to the Medieval Latin form Bedalgeuze. In the Renaissance, another set of scholars trying to figure out the name interpreted the first syllable bed– as being derived from a putative Arabic word *bāṭ meaning armpit. This word did not exist; it would correctly have been ibṭ. Nonetheless, the error stuck, and the resultant etymologically improved spelling Betelgeuse was borrowed into French as Bételgeuse, whence English Betelgeuse http://www.answers.com/topic/betelgeuse