10 Dictionaries for Learners of the Arabic Language

Arabic is the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and the religious language of 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. It is a Semitic language that is written with an alphabet that is read from right to left. It is the fifth most spoken language in the world.

We have put together a list of English-Arabic and Arabic-English dictionaries for people who are learning Arabic or is interested in learning Arabic. The list below includes the most popular dictionaries in the field.

Arabic-English Dictionary: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic

Arabic-English Dictionary: The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic

Author/Editor: Hans Wehr, J. Milton Cowan
Publisher: Spoken Language Services; Harrassowitz Verlag
Edition No.: 4th Edition
Publication Date: July 1979

Book Description:

The Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic by Hans Wehr is widely regarded as the foremost Arabic-English bilingual or translation dictionary and has particular usefulness for students of Modern Standard Arabic. The morphology and syntax of written Arabic is essentially the same in all Arabic countries. Unlike many other Arabic-English dictionaries, it arranges each Arabic word according to its consonant root. Foreign words are listed in straight alphabetical order by first letter (in the Arabic script). Arabicized loanwords, if they can clearly fit under some root, are entered both ways, often with the root entry giving reference to the alphabetical listing.

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The Oxford English-Arabic Dictionary of Current Usage

The Oxford English-Arabic Dictionary of Current Usage

Author/Editor: N. S. Doniach
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Edition No.: 1st Edition
Publication Date: July 1972

Book Description:

This leading Arabic dictionary lists English words and phrases with their Arabic equivalents, distinguishes between different shades of meaning in English expressions, and illustrates the regional variations of the Arabic language in different parts of the world.

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Oxford Arabic Dictionary

Oxford Arabic Dictionary

Author/Editor: Tressy Arts, Jan Hoogland, Mohammed Attia, Radia Benzehra
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Edition No.:
Publication Date: August 2014

Book Description:

Endorsed by academics worldwide, the Oxford Arabic Dictionary is the most authoritative English-Arabic/ Arabic-English dictionary ever published. Based on real modern evidence and computational analysis of hundreds of millions of words in both English and Modern Standard Arabic (the standardized variety of Arabic used in writing and most formal speech), the dictionary boasts more than 130,000 words and phrases and 200,000 translations. This up-to-date resource has been designed for both Arabic and English native speakers and includes the latest vocabulary from computing, business, the media, and the arts, across both languages. The organization and layout have been designed for maximum clarity and ease of use. The most commonly used sense of each word is shown first, helping you to identify and understand the correct meaning, and more than 70,000 real-life example phrases help you interpret meaning and usage accurately. All Arabic text is shown with vowels to assist Arabic learners in pronunciation and comprehension, and the Arabic-English section of the dictionary is usefully organized by root, which are listed alphabetically. The dictionary is also packed with extra features including tables of Arabic verbs, Arabic numbers, dates, and years, and irregular English verbs.

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Al-Mawrid Al-Hadeeth: A Modern English-Arabic Dictionary

Al-Mawrid Al-Hadeeth: A Modern English-Arabic Dictionary

Author/Editor: Mounir Baalbaki, Rohi Baalbaki
Publisher: Dar El-Ilm Lilmaliyeen
Edition No.: 1st Edition
Publication Date: July 2016

Book Description:

This large and contemporary dictionary contains fourteen hundred pages of words, linguistic constructions, and new idiomatic expressions. It introduces new vocabulary as well as new meanings. In addition, it includes the newest words from various sciences, including communications, electronics, and computer science.One of the special features of Al-Mawrid Dictionary is that different meanings under one entry are arranged chronologically, according to the historical period of use. The different meanings are also arranged in groups that differentiate between different shades of meaning. Also, definitions are separated by meanings and by their origin. Yet another special feature is that each meaning has a specific term that can be associated with that meaning.Al-Mawrid Dictionary is filled with illustrations and it separates vocabularies within each section, as is standard in other English dictionaries.

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Al-Mawrid Al-Mouzdawij: English-Arabic & Arabic-English Dictionary

Al-Mawrid Al-Mouzdawij: English-Arabic & Arabic-English Dictionary

Author/Editor: Mounir Baalbaki, Rohi Baalbaki
Publisher: Dar El-Ilm Lilmaliyeen
Edition No.: 11th Edition
Publication Date: December 2007/ January 2009

Book Description:

The most advanced English/Arabic and Arabic/English dictionary. Contains more than 200,000 words with many related appendices.

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E.W. Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon

E.W. Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon

Author/Editor: Edward William Lane
Publisher: Islamic Texts Society
Edition No.:
Publication Date: June 1992

Book Description:

The product of over thirty years of unrelenting labour, Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon is the most scholarly dictionary of the Arabic language available. Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon is a work of such unique greatness that, since its first appearance almost 150 years ago, it has never been supplanted and remains supreme in the field of Arabic lexicography. As it originally appeared and was later reproduced, Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon consisted of eight large, cumbersome volumes, which made it difficult to use. Now, for the first time, the Islamic Texts Society has, with no loss whatsoever of clarity or legibility, brought together the eight large volumes into two compact volumes; it is now possible to keep the Arabic-English Lexicon on the work desk and refer to it with ease.

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Arabic English Dictionary for Advanced Learners

J.G. Hava's Arabic English Dictionary

Author/Editor: J.G. Hava
Publisher: Goodword Books
Edition No.:
Publication Date: January 2001/ October 2002

Book Description:

Countless students around the world have improved their written and spoken Arabic by using this dictionary. Its comprehensiveness and reliability as well as its clear presentation of the material have made the dictionary a prime aid in the study of written Arabic. For the college student and also the younger scholar, it will be a handy and extremely useful tool.

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A Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran

A Dictionary and Glossary of the Koran

Author/Editor: John Penrice
Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
Edition No.:
Publication Date: December 2011

Book Description:

It is every Muslim’s duty to read the Koran and try to understand it, which can be a problematic task for those unacquainted with Arabic. The study and appreciation of Arabic literature likewise demands a thorough familiarity with the Koran; the majority of works by Muslim writers abound in allusions to its precepts and quotations from its pages. The sacred text’s purity of style and elegance of diction make it the standard of Arabic. This classic guide to one of the world’s most widely read books permits everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, to understand the Koran — even those with no prior knowledge of Arabic. Geared toward beginners, it was written to answer the need for an American version of the Koran in contemporary English. Each word is listed under its verbal root, grouping words without roots alphabetically, and numerous explanations of the text appear throughout to help beginners master some inevitable difficulties and to assist more advanced readers of Arabic in solving problems.

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The Concise Arabic-English Lexicon of Verbs in Context

The Concise Arabic-English Lexicon of Verbs in Context

Author/Editor: Ahmed Taher Hassanein, Kamar Mostafa Abdou, Dalal Abo El Seoud
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Edition No.: Revised Edition
Publication Date: July 2011

Book Description:

This classic learning aid, popular with teachers and students alike, has now been fully revised and substantially expanded for a complete new edition. With a fully vocalized Arabic text in clear, legible type, this invaluable lexicon now contains more than 3,500 Arabic verbs from 1,450 verb roots. Entries feature concise English definitions, the perfect and imperfect tenses and verbal noun of each verb, and carefully crafted context sentences to illustrate the correct usage and clarify the meaning. An index of English definition helps the user navigate the entries.

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DK Arabic-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

DK Arabic-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary

Author/Editor:
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd
Edition No.: Revised, Updated Edition
Publication Date: March/April 2017

Book Description:

Newly revised and updated, the Arabic–English Bilingual Visual Dictionary is a quick and intuitive way to learn and recall everyday words in Arabic. Introducing a range of useful current vocabulary in thematic order, this dictionary uses full-color photographs and artworks to display and label all the elements of everyday life—from the home and office to sport, music, nature, and the countries of the world—with panel features on key nouns, verbs, and useful phrases. The illustrations provide a quick and intuitive route to learning the language, defining the words visually so it is easier to remember them and creating a colorful and stimulating learning resource for the foreign-language and EFL/ESL student.

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We hope you will find the list above helpful in your journey in learning the Arabic language. The influence of Arabic is mostly apparent in Muslim-majority countries because Islam’s holy book, the Quran, is written in Arabic. In Islam, only the Arabic copy of the Quran is called “Quran” and its translations to other languages are considered only as translations. Arabic is also a source of vocabulary for a lot of other languages worldwide. In the English language, words of Arabic origin include admiral, alchemy, alcohol, algebra, algorithm, alkaline, almanac, amber, arsenal, candy, carat, coffee, cotton, hazard, jar, kismet, lemon, magazine, mattress, sofa, tariff, and zenith.