Too sweet for words.

al-Salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāh,

The opposite end of the ishtiraak phenomenon in which a single word has many shades of meaning, is that of al-taraaduf الترادف – synonyms – where many words share the same meaning. There has been much debate among the linguists over whether there actually are complete synonyms in Arabic, or whether every word has its own particular shade of meaning. One of the most famous books written in support of the latter theory is Mu'jam al-Furooq al-Lughawiyyah by Abu Hilal al-'Askari, in which he pointed out the subtle differences between seemingly synonymous words.

The cultural element and sheer vastness of such synonyms can be seen through works such as al-Rawd al-Masloof fee maa lahu ismaani ilaa al-Uloof by al-Fayroozaabaadi (in which he mentioned over 1000 names for the sword), Asmaa' al-Asad ('The names of the lion') and Asmaa' al-Hayyah ('The names of the snake') by Ibn Khalawahy. Also by al-Fayroozaabaadi, Tarqeeq al-Asal li-tasfeeq al-'asal in which he mentioned 80 alternatives for the word 'asal عسل ('honey'), these being:


العَسَل والضَّرْب والضَّرَبَة والضَّرِيب والشَّوْب والذَّوْب والحَمِيت والتَّحْمُوت والجلْس والوَرْس والأرْيُ والإذوَاب واللّوْمَة واللِّئْم والنَّسِيل والنَّسِيلَة والطَّرْم والطِّرم والطرام والطِّرْيَم والدستفشار والمُسْتَفْشَار والشَّهْد والشُّهْد والمِحْرَان والعُفَافَة والعُنْفُوان والماذِيّ والماذِية والطُّن والطَّنّ والبِلِّة والبَلَّة والسَّنُّوت والسِّنَّوْت والسنوة والشَّراب والغَرَب والأَسُّ والصَّبِيب والمَزْجُ والمِزْج ولُعَابُ النَّحْلِ والرُّضَاب ورُضاب النَّحْل وجَنى النحل ورِيْقُ النحل وقَيءُ الزنابير والشَّوْر والسَّلْوى ومُجاج النَّحْل والثَّوَابُ والحافِظُ والأمين والضَّحْل والشِّفاء واليمانيَّة واللَّوَاص والسَّلِيق والكُرْسُفِي واليَعْقِيد والسُّلْوانة والسُّلْوَان والرَّخْفُ والجَنَى والسُّلاف والسُّلافَة والسَّرو والشرو والصميم والجُثُّ والصَّهْباء والخِيم والخُوُّ والضج والسَّدَى والرَّحِيق والرُّحَاق والصَّمُوت والمَجُّ والمجلب والحَلَب والعِكْبِرُ والنَّحل والأصبهانية‏.


7 responses to “Too sweet for words.

  1. Salamu’alaikum wa rahmatallah.

    Subhanallah – such a beautiful and vast language.

    jazakamullahu khairan,

  2. walaikum asalaam,

    With so many synonyms for a given word, I am guessing that the number of words in the Arabic language far exceeds that of other languages.

  3. assalaamu alaikum

    This is a really good and original blog masha’Allah. Keep up the good work.

  4. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmat Allaah,

    Wa iyyaakum.

  5. Great blog, love it…

    Shows how vast the ocean of arabic is, and how behind we are in reaching the end…

    keep up the good work.

  6. alamu’alaikum wa rahmatallah

    very nice blog…

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