Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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(2,606 words)

Classical Arabic uses two more or less synonymous words that are equivalent to ‘insults’: šatm and sabb. There are only a few definitions of the word šatm, and they mention practically only one synonym, that of sabb. The term refers to ugliness, or more exactly to the expression of a feeling of repulsion or rejection, whether in the spoken word or physical appearance. Šatm indicates bad, ugly language, qabīḥ al-kalām. It is sometimes specified (Ibn Manẓūr [d. 705/1311], Lisān s.v.) that the reference is to words that are “bad but not accusatory” (wa-laysa fī-hi qaḏf). In the case of sabb, onc…

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Evelyne Largueche, “Insults”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 07 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1570-6699_eall_EALL_SIM_vol2_0025>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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