It is observed that words in a language are semantically exposed to shifting in meaning and content due to the conditions in effect during the period they have been in use. Homeland or motherland, a word originally derived from Arabic is one of those words which have been through this variation in Ottoman-Turkish literature. The word in question has been first used in sufism as a concept in reference to the world of souls expressing the soul’s lament and longing for the world of eternity where the whole existence was a unity in Allah’s infinite wisdom. Later it has been used to refer to the native land where one’s greater family has lived. Third or last semantic layer of the concept appeared when the Ottoman state went into losing its lands and hence immigration to the central parts from those lost lands. As a result of the tragedies for three centuries, the word “homeland” involved a meaning referring to the land for which lives are sacrificed in the name of it and a degree of holiness was attributed. Today the three layers of semantic references are still to be found in Turkish. However, it can be said that it involves not a perceptible but physical entity shown on the map. In this study we tried to discuss how the word homeland presented a semantic variation synchronically and diachronically. We tried to discover how Sufi, referential and experiential variations appeared linguistically and how it served to the Turkish poetry as s fruitful element.
Homeland, being away from home, exile, bezm-i elest, love of homeland,