Which language is used in the dictionary?

This dictionary focuses on the variant of Arabic commonly known as Modern Standard Arabic. This is the language as it is currently written and spoken in the media, and in which most literature and any other ‘formal’ written language appear. Accordingly, this dictionary does not include Classical Arabic words that are no longer in modern use, or old senses of modern words. It includes colloquial words only where no Standard equivalent could be found. In these cases, the user will find the word marked as colloquial, and the region where it is used will also be indicated. As mentioned, the line between Modern Standard Arabic and Colloquial Arabic is not clearly marked, so in order to decide what counts as MSA, it was decided that words that occur regularly in MSA texts without quotation marks could reasonably be assumed to be acceptable in MSA. A similar policy for loanwords from other languages has been applied: if the word is used often in MSA texts, then it is included. Where an English word can be translated with both a loanword and an Arabic variant, such as computer (كُمْبْيوتَر and حاسوب , both of which are in regular use), both are included.

Although MSA is largely the same throughout the Arabic world, some regional variation does occur. It would be impossible to list all regional variations for every word, but some have been included. Variants are marked by the name of the region.

The English used in the dictionary is British English, with US variants marked at the English headword.


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