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Published On: Wed, 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, Senior Fellow at the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg of Bonn University, and an expert advisor to MENA Tidningen.