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1 Lexicography
(915 words)

In Volume 3: Lexicography; Grammar; Prosody, and Poetics; Rhetoric, Riddles, and Chronograms; Ornate Prose; Proverbs; Tales

[For works explaining Ṣūfī and medical terms see also the sections Ṣūfism and Medicine.1]

A considerable amount of information concerning Persian lexicographical works has been published by H. Blochmann, P. de Lagarde and C. Salemann. Their writings on this subject are indicated in the present survey by the following abbreviations:

Blochmann = Contributions to Persian lexicography. By H. Blochmann (in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 37/1 (1868), pp. 1–72). The bibliographical part of this article discusses the dictionaries regarded by Blochmann as the most valuable for the compilation of a new and reliable Persian dictionary, namely, the Adāt al-fuḍalāʾ, the S̲h̲araf-nāmah, the Muʾaiyid al-fuḍalāʾ, the Madār al-afāḍil, the Farhang i Jahāngīrī, the Majmaʿ al-Furs, the Farhang i Ras̲h̲īdī, the Sirāj al-lug̲h̲āt, the Bahār i ʿAjam and the G̲h̲iyāt̲h̲ al-lug̲h̲āt. The sixty-five sources (i.e. the earlier dictionaries) upon which these ten dictionaries claim to be mainly based are enumerated on pp. 4–7 of Blochmann’s article in an alphabetical list with appended abbreviations showing in the case of each source the dictionary or dictionaries indebted to it.

Lagarde = Persische Studien. Von Paul de Lagarde (Abhandlungen der historisch-philologischen Classe der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Bd. 31, Hft. 1, 1884). The first sixty-seven pages of this article relate to Persian lexicography and deal in alphabetical order with about sixty dictionaries, nearly all Persian-Persian and Persian-Turkish. The information given consists mainly of extracts from Ḥājjī K̲h̲alīfah, Blochmann and the not very numerous catalogues published before 1884. One of the author’s objects was to show that the sources available for the preparation of a new Persian dictionary were much more numerous than Blochmann supposed. A review of Lagarde’s Persische Studien published by C. Salemann in the Literatur-Blatt für Orientalische Philologie, Bd. ii (Oct. 1884–Sept. 1885), pp. 74–86, contains particulars of lexicographical works preserved at St. Petersburg.

Salemann = Bericht über die aussgabe des Miʿjâr i Jamâlî. Von C. Salemann (in Mélanges asiatiques, tome ix (St. Petersburg 1888), pp. 417–594 = Bulletin de l’ Académie Impériale des Sciences de St. Pétersbourg, tome 32, pp. 255–376). The Bericht proper (pp. 417–32) is followed by five Beilagen, namely, i (pp. 433–41): Šams i Fachrî’s vorrede zum Miʿjâr, ii (pp. 442–4): Die handschrift der Risâla i Mîrzâ, iii (pp. 444–53): Beschreibung des Codex Vindobonensis A.F. 358a (527) [i.e. Flügel i no. 529, five Ṣūfī poems], iv (pp. 453–505): Die handschrift der Risâla i Vafâî [i.e. Blochet iv 2184], v (pp. 505–94): Chronologisches verzeichnis der Farhange. The chronological list of about 160 extant and non-extant dictionaries which forms Beilage v is based mainly on Blochmann, Lagarde, Rieu and the lists of authorities contained in the prefaces to the Majmaʿ al-Furs (Salemann pp. 532–3),2 the Farhang i Jahāngīrī (Salemann pp. 538–40)3 and the Farhang i anjuman-ārāy i Nāṣirī (Salemann pp. 566–72). An appended diagram shows in a sort of genealogical tree the relationship between twelve of these dictionaries.

In the following pages the dictionaries citing particular works as sources are indicated (on the authority of Blochmann and Salemann) by the abbreviations: Ad. (= Adāt al-fuḍalāʾ), an. (=Anjuman-ārāy i Nāṣirī), bq. (= Burhān i qāṭiʿ), Bh. (= Bahār i ʿAjam), fj. (= Farhang i Jahāngīrī), G̲h̲. (= G̲h̲iyāt̲h̲ al-lug̲h̲āt), Ma. (= Madār al-afāḍil), Mu. (= Muʾaiyid al-fuḍalāʾ), R. (= Farhang i Ras̲h̲īdī), S̲h̲. (= S̲h̲araf-nāmah i Aḥmad i Munyarī [Manyarī?]), Sir. (= Sirāj al-lug̲h̲āt), Sur. (= Surūrī’s Majmaʿ al-Furs), Sur.2 (=ditto, 2nd ed.).

[The preceding paragraphs, written for the most part years ago, have naturally been found, like many other parts of this survey, to need supplementation and modification when at long last the time has approached for their consignment to the press. Additional information concerning Persian lexicography is to be found in several more or less recent publications, among which may be mentioned:

the Farhang i Niẓām (a chronogram = 1346/1927–8), by S.M. ʿAlī “Dāʿī ’l-Islām” [Lārījānī], Ḥaidarābād (Deccan), ah 1348–58/ a.h.s. 1310–18/ ad 1930–9, vol. v, dībāc̲h̲ah (pp. i–liii),
the Lug̲h̲at-nāmah of Dih-k̲h̲udā, introduction, Tihrān a.h.s. 1337/1959, p. 178 onwards [including, on pp. 180–6, an alphabetical list of 188 Persian-Persian dictionaries and glossaries, many of them titles with authors’ names, or bare titles, without mention of the sources of information],
Mus̲h̲ār = Fihrist i kitābhā-yi c̲h̲āpī i Fārsī, by K̲h̲ān-Bābā Mus̲h̲ār (English title: A bibliography of books printed in Persian, compiled by Khân Bâbâ Moshâr), vol. 1 (book titles). Tihrān a.h.s. 1337/1958.

Cf. also article by Chinmoy Dutt: “Persian ‘Niṣābs’ or Rhymed Vocabularies”, Indo-Iranica xiv/1 (March 1961), pp. 14–31.

In modifying the pages that follow I have felt myself compelled to spend less time on the new matter than I should formerly have thought desirable and I have at times contented myself with giving references to the new sources of information without otherwise supplementing or modifying what had already been written.]

next chapter: 1.1 Persian-Persian


^ Back to text1. These words were written years ago: I am not now optimistic enough to believe that I shall live long enough to put into printable form my large but incomplete collection of cards relating to Ṣūfī works. [Unfortunately Professor Storey did not complete the section on Ṣūfism. v.s.]

^ Back to text2. Of the sixteen sources enumerated by Surūrī twelve are mentioned by Ḥājjī K̲h̲alīfah in his account of the Majmaʿ al-Furs and by Lagarde, who was dependent on Ḥ. K̲h̲.

^ Back to text3. Salemann, having access to mss. at Leningrad, was able to reproduce this list more correctly than Lagarde, who used the lithograph.

Cite this page
“1 Lexicography”, in: Storey Online, Charles Ambrose Storey. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2021

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