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[ar-uh-bik] /ˈær ə bɪk/
of, belonging to, or derived from the language or literature of the Arabs.
noting, pertaining to, or in the alphabetical script used for the writing of Arabic probably since about the fourth century a.d., and adopted with modifications by Persian, Urdu, and many other languages. A distinguishing feature of this script is the fact that etymologically short vowels are not normally represented.
a Semitic language that developed out of the language of the Arabians of the time of Muhammad, now spoken in countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
Abbreviation: Ar.
the standard literary and classical language as established by the Koran.
Origin of Arabic
1350-1400; Middle English arabik < Latin Arabicus Arabian, equivalent to Arab(ia) + -icus -ic
Related forms
non-Arabic, adjective
pro-Arabic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Arabic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Parr explained that this stranger was prepared to give lessons in Arabic.

    Sacrifice Stephen French Whitman
  • But according to the Arabic proverb, the jar oozes of its 229 contents.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • Straightway the fellow in the bow opened conversation, trying several tongues, till finally he essayed the Arabic.

  • It was the first time he called her by her first name––an Arabic name which, as a Bahaist she had adopted.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • The three books on Mechanics survive in an Arabic translation which, however, bears a title “On the lifting of heavy objects.”

British Dictionary definitions for Arabic


the language of the Arabs, spoken in a variety of dialects; the official language of Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, the Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. It is estimated to be the native language of some 75 million people throughout the world. It belongs to the Semitic subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages and has its own alphabet, which has been borrowed by certain other languages such as Urdu
denoting or relating to this language, any of the peoples that speak it, or the countries in which it is spoken
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Arabic

early 14c., from Old French Arabique (13c.), from Latin Arabicus "Arabic" (see Arab). Old English used Arabisc "Arabish." Originally in reference to gum arabic; noun meaning "Arabic language" is from late 14c.

Arabic numerals (actually Indian) first attested 1727; they were introduced in Europe by Gerbert of Aurillac (later Pope Sylvester II) after a visit to Islamic Spain in 967-970. A prominent man of science, he taught in the diocesan school at Reims, but the numbers made little headway against conservative opposition in the Church until after the Crusades. The earliest depiction of them in English, in "The Crafte of Nombrynge" (c.1350) correctly identifies them as "teen figurys of Inde."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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