Arabic is one of the largest donor languages to Malay and Persian. This study explores the benefits of Arabic vocabulary in teaching Malay words of Arabic origin to Persian-speaking students using a vocabulary survey containing 40 Malay words of Arabic origin, most of which retain phonetic or semantic similarity in Persian. Participants were 20 native Persian-speaking students at a Malaysian university. Page 1 of the questionnaire demonstrated a list of 40 Malay words of Arabic origin and yes/no columns in order to verify participants’ prior knowledge. Page 2 demonstrated 40 Malay words followed by their etymologies, including multiple-choice questions in which participants selected the most appropriate meaning. Participants averaged 19.9 correct answers and 17.35 newly learned words. At a 5% level, a significant difference was observed in their scores before and after the explicit demonstration of the word origins (p = .000, t = 20.28). This study concludes that the proposed method to explicitly present Malay words of Arabic origin and their etymologies assist Persian-speaking students in learning basic Malay vocabulary.