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(252 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.) (and variants s̲h̲ukkub , s̲h̲inḳāb ) pl. s̲h̲anāḳib , masc. substantive denoting the common snipe ( Capella gallinago gallinago ). In the Mag̲h̲rib and Egypt, it is known as kannis , dad̲j̲ād̲j̲at al-māʾ and bikāsīn (< Fr. bécassine ), while in ʿIrāḳ it is called d̲j̲uhlūl , the same term as for the sandpiper ( Tringa ). In addition to the common snipe, the great or solitary snipe, s̲h̲unḳub kabīr ( Capella major or media ), the Jack snipe, s̲h̲unḳub ṣag̲h̲īr ( Limnocryptes minimus ) and the painted snipe, s̲h̲unḳub muzawwaḳ ( k̲h̲awlī in Egypt) ( Rostratuk benghalensis


(942 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), substantive of collective type ( nomen unitatis, -a), denoting in ancient Arabic texts the Greater Flamingo (“flaming one”) or phoenicopter (the Φοινικόπτερος “purple-winged” of the Greeks and the iṣṣūr nūri “bird of light” of the Akkadians), this being Phoenicopterus ruber roseus or antiquorum of the order of the Phoenicopteridae ( nuḥāmiyyāt ) which resemble waders with their long legs and palmipeds with their webbed feet. The term nuḥām , drawn from the root n-ḥ -m , which evokes the notion of growling, was given to this large and graceful…


(1,069 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), masculine noun (pl. numūs , numūsa ) denoting the ichneumon or Egyptian mongoose ( Herpestes ichneumon ), a small carnivore of the family Viverridae, native to Africa and common in Egypt, Morocco and Palestine. In Egypt, with the geographical sub-species pharaonis , the ichneumon was called “Pharaoh’s rat” ( faʾr Firʿawn ) and sometimes “Pharaoh’s cat” ( ḳiṭṭ Firʿawn ), since in the time of the Pharaohs it enjoyed a sacred status and was embalmed after its death. In the Mag̲h̲rib there is the sub-species numidicus (Moroccan Berber sarrū , Kabyle izirdi , Tunisian zīrda


(1,384 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), a noun with a generic sense ( nomen unitatis, salwāt , pl. salāwā , denotes first of all the quail ( Coturnix coturnix), of the order of Galliformae, family of Phasianidae), from Latin quaquila , with the synonym sumānā , sumānā t, pl. sumānayāt . The two Semitic roots s-l-w and s-m-n evoke the idea of fatness; the same sense is found in the Hebrew ślāw , pl. śalwīm , and in the Syriac salwai . It is under this name that the quail is mentioned in the Bible (Exod. xvi, 11-13; Num. xi, 31-2; Ps. lxxvii, 27; Ps. civ, 40; Wisdom of Solomon, xvi, 2) with regard to the e…

Namir and Nimr

(4,250 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.) (fern, namira , pl. anmār , numūr , numur , numr , nimār , nimāra , anmur; Mag̲h̲rib nmer , pl. nmūrd ), masculine noun designating the panther ( Panthera pardus ) better known, in Africa, by the name of “leopard” (from leo-pardus; Old French leupart, liepart, lyépart; Old English leparde, lebarde, libbard). In Berber, it is called ḳinas , agarzam , in Morocco, ag̲h̲ilas in Kabylia, and damesa , anaba , washil in Tamahaḳ. In Turkish it is known by the name of pars and in Persian as palang . This large feline, the most ferocious of the family, along with the lion and tiger, is ubiq…


(1,477 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), substantive of a collective nature (unitary noun namla , pl. nimāl , namul , numul ) denoting ants (Persian namal , mūr , Turkish karinca , Tamaḥaḳ anellug̲h̲ , pl, inellug̲h̲en , Hebrew nemālah , pl. namālim . These hymenopters living in organised societies comprise more than 1,600 species worldwide, and are divided into two groups: “formicines” ( genera formica, camponotus , lasius ) which do not possess an aggressive sting, and “myrimicines” (genera myrmica , tetramorium , aphenogaster ) which are thus equipped. These classifications being of …


(1,838 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
, Ḳunfad̲h̲ (A., fem. ḳunfud̲h̲a , pl. ḳanāfid̲h̲ ), a masc. noun preserved in all the Arabic dialects (Maghrib, ḳenfūd / genfūd , Middle East, ḳenfūḍ ) which denotes, like its Hebrew counterpart, ḳippod (see Isaiah, xiv, 23, xxxiv, 11, and Zephaniah, ii, 14), both the hedgehog and the porcupine. These two small excavating mammals, externally fairly similar through the sharp, hairy spines covering their backs and flanks and through their nocturnal habits, are nevertheless quite different zoologically in th…

Ibn Hud̲h̲ayl

(709 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
, Abu ’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Fazārī al-Andalusī , a man of letters and writer of Granada during the second half of the 8th/14th century, who lived at the court of the Naṣrids [ q.v.] of Granada. At the request of sultan Muḥammad (V) b. Yūsuf b. Ismāʿīl known as al-G̲h̲ānī (who reigned in 755/1354 and 763/1362), Ibn Hud̲h̲ayl wrote his masterpiece, the K. Tuḥfat al-anfus wa s̲h̲iʿār sukkān al-Andalus (MSS B. N. Madrid, no. 5095 and Escurial, Cod. 1652), a treatise on the “holy war” ( d̲j̲ihād ) aimed at convincing the Andalusian Muslims of the need t…


(3,329 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(fem, kalba , pl. kilāb , kalīb , aklub , secondary pl. kilābāt , akālib ), the general name for the domestic dog ( Canis familiaris) with no distinction of breed. A fundamentally unclean ( nad̲j̲as ) animal and therefore forbidden food according to ḳurʾānic law, the dog is generally if not despised, then at least avoided, throughout Islam. This is particularly true of urban areas, at any rate insofar as the animal does not assist its master in the pursuit of a permitted activity. For Muslims this reservation…


(269 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), pls. zarāfāt , zarāfī , zarāʾif , zurāfa , the giraffe (in Persian, us̲h̲tur-gāw-palang “camel-cow-leopard”), a large African mammiferous animal, one of the two representatives of the Giraffid family and well ¶ known through its western type Giraffa camelopardalis or cameleopard. In Antiquity, and according to all the ancient writers on natural history, the giraffe was considered as a hybrid coming from crossings of wild species of camelids, bovines and felines, male or female, and because of its long front legs and short back ones, as involving a limping and jerky gait. It is ast…


(4,513 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(A., pl. fiʾrān , fiʾara , fuʾar ) masculine substantive with the value of a collective (noun of singularity faʾar ) designates, like the Persian mūs̲h̲ , firstly, among the Rodents ( ḳawāriḍ , ḳawāḍim ), the majority of types and species of the sub-order of the Myomorphs (with the Dipodids, Glirids, Murids, Spalacids and Cricetida), secondly, among the Insectivores ( ākilāt al-ḥas̲h̲arāt ), the family of the Soricids. The term is applied equally well to the largest rats as to the smallest s̲h̲rews and gerbils. The adjectives of abundance faʾir , faʾira , mafʾara and mafʾira


(523 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), the jerboa, jumping mouse or jumping hare ( Jaculus ) of the class of rodents and family of dipodids ( Dipus ). The name jerboa is itself derived from yarbūʿ , which may come from Aramaic, as also the name gerbil. Dipus is the “two-legged rat”. It holds itself up on long backlegs like the kangaroo, whilst the front legs are very short and are used to grasp prey and scrape out ¶ its burrows. In Pliny, the jerboa is often confused with the “white rat” ( Mus albus ). The Dipodid family comprises a dozen species, typified by the “Arrow-bolt jerboa” ( Dipus sagitta). The Arabic authorities on zool…


(3,847 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a., fem. ḳirda , pl. ḳurūd , aḳrād , ḳirad , ḳirada , ḳarida ), a substantive having the general sense of “monkey”, but representing in tact, among the simians of the Ancient World, only the members of two families, the colobids and the cercopithecids, the only primates known in ancient Arabia. Egypt, Abyssinia, Somalia, the Yemen and ʿUmān in fact constitute favourite habitats of baboons (genus Papio ) and macaques or cynocephalous magots (genus Macaca ). Both types live there in groups of which the total population can vary from a dozen to a hun…


(3,158 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), pl. arānib , in poetry, al-arānī . Grammatically this noun is feminine and denotes the hare with the general meaning of a leporid, either as a collective noun, or specifically the doehare (see Ch. Pellat, Sur quelques noms d’animaux en arabe classique , in GLECS, viii, 95-9). In all the Arabic dialects the term maintains this meaning, but in Mag̲h̲ribī two plural forms are found, rawānib and arnānib . Today its archaic synonym ḳuwāʿ (fem. ḳuwāʿa ) seems to have been forgotten. Arabic lexicographers relate arnab to a root r-n-b (see LA) according to the rules of triliteralism, but…


(3,756 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.) (pl. afrās , furūs , fursān ) denotes the Horse ( Equus caballus), in the sense of saddle-horse; philologists further restrict the meaning of the word to “saddle-horse of the Arabian breed”. This original name is applied to both sexes without distinction, and serves as a noun of unity for the collective of the species k̲h̲ayl ( Equidae ); hence this term is found in agreement with either gender, the feminine, however, seeming the more usual, in ancient Arabic (see Ch. Pellat, Sur quelques noms d’animaux en arabe classique , in GLECS, viii, 95-9). The word faras , pronounced fras , pl. frāsāt…


(2,839 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.) (in rare instances sunnār , sunār ) (pl. sanānīr ), masculine substantive denoting the cat, and synonym of hirr (pl. hirara , hirar ) and of ḳiṭṭ (pl. ḳiṭāṭ , ḳiṭaṭa ) (cf. Latin catus ). These three equivalent terms which have the feminine in -a for the female cat make no distinction between wild and domestic species. Among the former, at least four were known in the lands of Islam: (a) Felis sylvestris lybica , European wild cat, of the Libyan subspecies, with the names ḳiṭṭ al-k̲h̲alā , ḳiṭṭ al-barr, kadīs , in Kabyle ams̲h̲īs̲h̲ boudrar; (b) Felis margarita, Sand cat, which has become…


(1,539 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
, (A., fem. g̲h̲azāla , pi. g̲h̲izlān , g̲h̲izla ), is the source of our term ‘gazelle’ denoting, in the Bovidae family, the species, all wild, of the sub-family of the Antilopinae. It is a noun much more restricted in application than ẓaby , which covers indiscriminately antelopes and gazelles, that is the Tragelaphini, Alcelaphinae, Oryginae, Reduncini, Antilopinae and Cephalophini. G̲h̲azal , in common with a number of names of animals, is at once a masculine singular denoting the male, and a collective noun denoting the species (see Ch. Pellat, Sur quelques noms d’animaux en Arab…


(4,184 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a.), a singular noun with the value of a collective (sing, naḥla ) designating domestic or social bees (apid family) (Pers. naḥl , Turk, arɩ , Kabyle t̲h̲izizwa , Tamaḥaḳ ehenkeker en turawet, pl. ihenkukar ) with the species Apis mellifera/ mellifica in Europe and North Africa and Apis fasciata in Egypt and the Near East. One cannot trace here the primordial economic role that, thanks to honey, bees have played in man’s nutrition since prehistoric times. The sedentary populations of the mountainous and wooded zones of ¶ the Mediterranean rim, following the example of the Greeks,…


(682 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a., more rarely mus̲h̲mus̲h̲ , in the Mag̲h̲rib mis̲h̲mäs̲h̲ ), a masc. sing, noun with a collective meaning (singulative mis̲h̲mis̲h̲a ), the apricottree and its fruit ( Prunus armeniaca), of the Rosaceae family, and corresponding to Persian zardālū , zardālūk and Turkish kayisi . It was for long considered as indigenous to Armenia (whence its scientific name), but in fact has been cultivated in China for about two millennia before our era and reached the Mediterranean region of the West ¶ in the historical ages of Athens and Rome via India, Persia, Iraq and Turkey. In Gr…


(1,037 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(a., pl. mayādīn ), masculine noun denoting a large, open, demarcated area, flat and generally rectangular, designed for all kinds of equestrian activity. Arab philologists and lexicographers have differing opinions regarding the root to which maydān should be attributed. For al-Zamak̲h̲s̲h̲arī, this term is derived from the root w-d-n since, as he explains ( Asās al-balāg̲h̲a ), the horses “are flogged there severely” ( tādan bi-hi ). For others, this is the paradigm faʿlān from the root m-y-d with the sense of urging and manoeuvring of horses. For others, finally, the same paradigm fa…
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