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Published On: ons, Feb 28th, 2018

Arabic Dictionaries Online

In 1981, while visiting Egypt for a consulting assignment with USAID, I purchased the old Cairo edition of the massive dictionary Tāj al-‘Arūs of Murtaḍā al-Zabīdī (d. 1790). This was in about 10 large and heavy volumes. For it and a few other books I bought a cheap suitcase and paid the porter who carried it from the taxi to the airline desk a large baksheesh. When I arrived back in New York, as I was entering the door of our home, the suitcase burst open and Tāj al-‘Arūs was spread on the floor.

That was some 35 years ago, but now I have pdf files of the entire modern Kuwaiti edition courtesy of archive.org.  While a scholar of Arabic used to either buy the physical book (I purchased a set of Lisān al-‘Arab in Baghdad in 1979) or be based near a major library (I had the advantage of the Oriental Room of the New York Public Library), now all it takes is a click of a mouse and many megabytes of space to build up a library of Arabic dictionaries.

For those who are looking for Arabic dictionaries available online or in pdf format, here is a list. Others are welcome to suggest sources they know.

Online Arabic Dictionaries

• The first place to go for classical Arabic is al-Bāḥith al-‘Arabī (http://www.baheth.info/), which is searchable by word in Arabic for the following dictionaries:

Lisān al-‘Arab of Ibn Manẓūr (d. 1311 CE); Maqāyyis al-lugha of Aḥmad ibn Fāris (d. 1004) ; al-Siḥāḥ fī al-lugha of Ismā‘īl ibn Ḥammād al-Jawharī (d. 1003); al-Qāmūs al-muḥīṭ of al-Fīrūzābādī (d. 1329); and, al-‘Ubāb al-zākhir of al-Ḥasan ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣaghānī (d. 1252).

• The Arabic website al-Ma‘ānī (http://www.almaany.com/) is an excellent source for Arabic definitions of Arabic terms.

• For Arabic to English, the original text of Edward Lane’s (1863) An Arabic-English Lexicon is available as an online pdf at http://www.tyndalearchive.com/TABS/Lane/. It is also available as a download at archive.org and at http://www.studyquran.co.uk/LLhome.htm

Arabic Dictionaries in PDF

• Al-Fayrūzābādī’s al-Qāmūs al-muḥīṭ is at https://archive.org/details/QamusMuhit

• Ibn Manẓūr’s Lisān al-‘Arab is at https://archive.org/details/lisan.al.arab

• Al-Ṣaghānī’s al-Takmila wa-al-dhayl is at https://archive.org/details/TKMLH

• Al-Zabīdī’s massive Tāj al-‘arūs (Kuwaiti version) is at https://archive.org/details/taga07

• see also Dozy, R. (1881)  Supplement aux Dictionnaires Arabes. Leiden Brill. at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6254645z

Arabic/English, English/Arabic, etc.

• Baretto, Joseph (1804) A Dictionary of the Persian and Arabic Languages. Calcutta : S. Greenway, India Gazette Press. Vol. 2 at https://archive.org/details/dictionaryofpers02barriala

• Johnson, Francis (1852) A Dictionary, Persian, Arabic and English. London: W.H. Allen. at https://archive.org/details/b22651366

• Penrice, John (1873) A Dictionary and Glossary of the Kor-ân. London: Henry S. King. at https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_QYwq3ylpv6kC

• Richardson, John  (1810) A Vocabulary, Persian, Arabic, and English; abridged from the quarto edition of Richardson’s dictionary is at https://archive.org/details/vocabularypersia00richiala

• Steingass, Francis Joseph (1882) English-Arabic Dictionary: For the Use of Both Travellers and Students. London: W. H. Allen and Co. at https://archive.org/details/englisharabicdi00steigoog

• Steingass, Francis Joseph (1884) The Student’s Arabic-English Dictionary. London: Crosby, Lockwood and Son at https://archive.org/details/cu31924026873194

• Wehr, Hans (1960) Arabic-English Dictionary is available as a pdf at https://archive.org/details/Arabic-englsihDictionary 

• Wortabet, William Thomson  Arabic-English Dictionary is available as a pdf at https://archive.org/details/WortabetsArabic-englishDictionary

Arabic Dialect Dictionaries:

• Ben Sedirah, Belkassam (1910) Petit dictionnaire arabe-français de la langue parlée en Algérie, contenant les mots et les formules employés dans les lettres et les actes judiciaires. Alger: Jourdan. at https://archive.org/details/petitdictionnair00abaluoft

• Biberstein-Kazimirski, Albert de (1860) Dictionnaire arabe-francais contenant toutes les racines de la langue arabe : leurs dérivés, tant dans l’idiome vulgaire que dans l’idiome littéral, ainsi que les dialectes d’Alger et de Maroc. Paris: Maisonneuve: Éditeurs pour les langues orientales, Européenes et comparées. at https://archive.org/details/dictionnairearab02bibeuoft

• Cameron, Donald Andreas (1892) An Arabic-English vocabulary for the use of English students of modern Egyptian Arabic. London: Bernard Quaritch. at https://archive.org/details/arabicenglishvoc00cameuoft

• Crow, Francis Edward (1901) Arabic manual. A colloquial handbook in the Syrian dialect, for the use of visitors to Syria and Palestine, containing a simplified grammar, a comprehensive English and Arabic vocabulary and dialogues. London: Luzac and co. at https://archive.org/details/arabicmanualcoll00crow 

• Hinds, Martin and el-Said Badawi (1986) A Dictionary of Egyptian Arabic is available as a pdf at https://archive.org/details/ADictionaryOfEgyptianArabicArabicEnglish

• Landberg, Carlo (1901) Études sur les dialectes de l’Arabie méridionale. I: Ḥaḍramoūt. Leiden: Brill. at https://archive.org/details/tudessurlesdial00unkngoog

• Landberg, Carlo (1909) Études sur les dialectes de l’Arabie méridionale. Datina. Leiden: Brill. https://archive.org/details/p2tudessurlesdia02landuoft

• Nishio, Tetsuo (1992) A Basic Vocabulary of the Bedouin Arabic Dialect of the Jbāli tribe (Southern Sinai). Tokyo : Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. https://archive.org/details/basicvocabularyo00nish

• Rhodokanakis, Nikolaus (1908) Der vulgärarabische Dialekt im Dofâr (Zfâr). Vienna: Alfred Hölder. at https://archive.org/details/dervulgrarabis10rhod

Arabic Thesaurus:

• Ibn Qutayba Adab al-kātib. Beirut: Mu’assisa al-Risāla. at https://archive.org/details/tanmawia.com_15789

• Ibn Sīda, Al-Mukhaṣṣāṣ. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya. at https://archive.org/details/mukhsasmukhsas

•  Khuwārizmī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad (1866-1903) Liber Mafâtîh al-olûm: explicans vocabula technica scientiarum tam Arabum quam peregrinorum. Edited by G. Voten. Lugduni Batavorum: Brill. [in Arabic] at https://archive.org/details/b29006247

Specialized Arabic Terms:

•Al-Damīrī (1908) Ad-Damîrî’s Ḥayât al-Ḥayawān (A Zoological Lexicon). Translated by A. S. G. Jayakar. London: Luzac. Vol. 2, Part 1. at https://archive.org/details/addamrsaytalaya00damgoog

• Al-Damīrī Ḥayāt al-ḥayawān ms. at https://al-mostafa.info/data/arabic/depot/gap.php?file=m013645.pdf

• Fleury, V and Muammad Souhlal (1915) L’arabe pratique et commercial à l’usage des établissements d’instruction et des commerçants, lecture, écriture, grammaire, syntaxe, exercices d’application, conversation, lexiques, dictionnaire commercial. Alger: Jourdan. at https://archive.org/details/larabepratiqueet00fleuuoft

• Dozy, Renard (1845) Dictionnaire Détaillé des noms des vêtements chez les Arabes. Amsterdam: Jean Müller. at https://archive.org/details/dictionnairedt00dozyuoft

• Fonahn, A.  (1922) Arabic and Latin Anatomical Terminology. Kristiania: Jacob Dybwad. at https://archive.org/details/arabiclatinanat00fona

• Ibrāhīm, Rajab (2002) al-Mu‘jam al-‘Arabī l-asmā’ al-malābis. Cairo: Dār al-Mufāq. at https://archive.org/stream/FP56847/56847#page/n0/mode/2up

Mu‘jam muṣṭlaḥāt al-‘ulūm al-shar‘īyya. Saudi Arabia, 2017.  Vol. 1 at https://archive.org/details/momsolshPDF

• Siddiqi, Abdussattar (1919) Studien über die Persischen Fremdwörter im klassischen Arabisch. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck. at https://archive.org/details/studienberdiep00sidd

• Yāqūt, Mu‘jam al-buldan. at https://www.4shared.com

Exploring Arabic Texts:

There are many more sources available at archive.org if you put “Arabic language” in the search bar. Important sources for links to pdfs of Arabic language texts include the following:

• Arabic Collections Online (NYU Aby Dhabi): http://dlib.nyu.edu/aco/

• 4shared.com: https://www.4shared.com/

• Al-Madinah Inernational University Digital Library: http://dlibrary.mediu.edu

• al-Maktaba al-Shāmila: http://shamela.ws/

• Mawqa‘ al-ḍīyā‘: http://www.aldhiaa.com/arabic/book.php?sort=all

• al-Mostafa: https://www.al-mostafa.com/

• Waqfeya: http://waqfeya.com/category.php?cid=6

• See the list of sites at https://digitalorientalist.com/2015/01/16/full-text-online-arabic-sources-a-preliminary-list/

About the Author

- Anthropologist and historian with 40 years of experience researching and working in Yemen. Varisco is currently the President of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, a Senior Postdoctoral Scholar at the Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and an expert advisor to MENA Tidningen.