The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an

One of the resources built into Qur’an Gateway is Arthur Jeffery’s classic book, The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an.

Arthur Jeffery (1892-1959) was Chair of the Department of Near and Middle East Languages at Columbia University. Educated in both his native Australia and Scotland, he held earlier teaching appointments in India and Egypt before moving to the United States. His The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an has had a tremendous influence in qur’anic studies and has been cited by tens of thousands of papers, articles, and books.
As the introduction to the recently republished edition of the work by Brill puts it:
Arranged in Arabic alphabetical order, Jeffery’s compendium of philological scholarship remains an indispensable tool for any serious study of Qur’ānic semantics. Drawing upon etymological examination of languages such as Greek, Persian, Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic and Nabataean, Jeffery’s work illuminates the rich linguistic texture of Islam’s holy book. His lengthy introductory essay explores the exegetical analysis offered by medieval Muslim commentators as well as the insights provided by more recent research.
In Qur’an Gateway, we have tagged every word in the Qur’an which is listed by Jeffery as a loanword (what he called a “foreign” word), along with a link to the relevant page in the 1938 edition of Jeffery’s book.
There are several ways you can access this resource:
  1. From the Qur’an Gateway home page, search for [LOANWORD]. That will run a search for every word in the Qur’an tagged as being a loanword.
  2. When pointing to a word in the text and viewing its details using the Instant Details Pane, loanwords will be indicated as such. Click on the icon to view the relevant page of The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an.

  3. Within the Dictionary Tool (and in several other screens, you can click on the icon next to a word to see its page in The Foreign Vocabulary of the Qur’an.
  4. To see a list of all the loanwords in the Qur’an, click on the “Browse” menu, then choose “Word Lists” and then choose “List Loanwords”.
  5. To see a chart of the usage of loanwords in the Qur’an, click on the “Charts” menu, then choose “Words & Grammar” and then choose “Loanwords per Sura”.

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