Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics

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(2,159 words)

The term ṣifa lit. ‘feature, attribute, property’, from the root w-ṣ-f ‘to describe’, belongs to the earliest stock of Arabic grammatical terminology. In later grammar, its meaning became more or less fixed for a category of words corresponding to the adjective and the attribute in the Greco-Latin tradition, but originally it was used for a variety of meanings.

The term ṣifa is one of a functional pair ṣifa/mawṣūf, which is analogous in meaning to the terminological pairs musnad/musnad ʾilayhi (ʾisnād) and muxbar bihi/muxbar ʿanhu (xabar), as al-Fārābī (d. 339/950; ʾAlfāḏ̣ 57) expla…

Cite this page
Kees Versteegh, “Ṣifa”, in: Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: Lutz Edzard, Rudolf de Jong. Consulted online on 02 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1570-6699_eall_EALL_SIM_0123>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004177024, 20090831

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