Ismail ibn Hammad al-Jawhari

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Abu Nasr Isma'il ibn Hammad al-Jawhari also spelled al-Jauhari (died 1002 or 1008) was a Turkic[1][2] lexicographer and the author of a notable Arabic dictionary.

He was born in the city of Farab (Otrar) in Transoxiana (in today's southern Kazakhstan). He studied Arabic language first in Baghdad and then among the Arabs of the Hejaz.[3] Then he settled in northern Khorasan (at Damghan and subsequently at Nishapur). He died at Nishapur while attempting flight from the roof of a mosque, possibly inspired by an earlier glider flight by Abbas Ibn Firnas.[4]

His great work is the Arabic dictionary entitled Taj al-Lugha wa Sihah al-Arabiya, ( الصحاح تاج اللغة وصحاح العربية)[5] "The Crown of Language and the Correct Arabic", also known by the shorter titles al-Sihah fi al-Lugha, "The Correct Language", and al-Sihah. It contains about 40,000 dictionary entries.[6] He wrote it when living in Nishapur. It is told that he had not completed it at his death and it was completed by a student. Al-Jawhari put the words into an alphabetical order under which the last letter of a word's root is the first ordering criterion. Al-Sihah is one of the main Arabic dictionaries of the medieval era. Moreover much of its material was incorporated into later Arabic dictionaries compiled by others. A number of abridgements of it, as well as expansions of it, were produced in Arabic over the centuries.[3] A fully searchable online edition is at Most of it was copied into the huge 13th century dictionary compilation Lisan al-Arab, which is also online at

An edition was begun by E. Scheidius with a Latin translation, but one part only appeared at Harderwijk (1776). The whole has been published at Tabriz (1854) and at Cairo (1865), and many abridgments and Persian translations have appeared.[7] In 1729 its dictionary entries formed the basis for an Arabic-to-Turkish dictionary that was the first book printed using printing press by Ibrahim Muteferrika in Ottoman era.[8]


  1. ^ الذهبي, شمس الدين. سير أعلام النبلاء - ج 25 : الفهارس 2 (in Arabic). IslamKotob. 
  2. ^ L., Kopf,. "al-D̲j̲awharī". 
  3. ^ a b Book Arabic Lexicography: Its History..., by John A. Haywood, year 1965, chapter six: "The Ṣaḥāḥ of al-Jauharī".
  4. ^ Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (Spring, 1961). "Eilmer of Malmesbury, an Eleventh Century Aviator: A Case Study of Technological Innovation, Its Context and Tradition", Technology and Culture 2 (2), p. 97-111 [100f.]
  5. ^
  6. ^ History of Humanity, edited by Muḥammad ʻAdnān Bakhīt, year 2000. The section headed "Grammar and Lexicography" written by Ahmad Yusuf Al-Hasan.
  7. ^ See library catalogs at Also C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Literatur (Weimar, 1898).
  8. ^ The al-Sihah of al-Jawhari was rendered as an Arabic–Turkish dictionary by Vankulu (died 1592) and was published in Istanbul in 1729. This publication is of significance in the history of publishing under the Ottomans, as discussed in the article about its publisher Ibrahim Muteferrika. Further information at ref.

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