This is the original version of the Hans-Wehr
dictionary. The latest version is version 4, and is only available
in print copy. You can purchase one from Amazon. This copy is
of the original dictionary (with less entries and pages than
the latest edition.)
This dictionary is not for everyone. The words in this dictionary
are not listed in alphabetical order. Rather, they are listed
by the Arabic roots. If you do not understand Arabic grammar,
this dictionary you will not find this dictionary easy to use.
For instance the word maktaba is listed under ktb.
If you are a beginner at Arabic, then choose
an alphabetical dictionary. Hans-Wehr is the only Modern Written
Arabic (MWA) - English dictionary that the student of Arabic
has to have. Others, Al-Mawrid, for example, are useful as supplements,
and contain new vocabulary, and there is a more recent German
edition (5th edition) of Wehr published by Harrassowitz, but
this book has a standard of scholarship unrivaled by any other
MWA-English dictionary. Middle Eastern published MWA-English
dictionaries like Mawrid, for example, don't give the grammatical
information learners of Arabic need, such as broken plurals,
verbal vowelling, verbal nouns (masdars), let alone how verbs
are used with prepositions, all of which Wehr tells the user.
Again, words are in root order, so maktaba (desk) [mktbh] and
kaatib (writer) [k'tb] both are found under the verb kataba (to
write) [ktb]. This really is the most useful way of ordering
Arabic dictionaries for someone who's mastered the basics of
Arabic grammar, though an alphabetic order dictionary is a help
when you're starting and occasionally even when you're expert.
This dictionary is NOT a dictionary of Classical
Arabic (although Beeston in his anthology of Bassar bin Burd
reckoned that Wehr covered the vast majority of the vocabulary
of this poet of the 8th Century AD). For Classical Arabic, Lane
(perhaps supplemented by Hava's much more affordable al-Fara'id)
is essential. But Lane is useless for modern Arabic. And if you're
reading medieval Arabic, you will find Wehr fills in some of
the gaps in Lane.
This dictionary is NOT a dialect dictionary,
though it contains many dialect words that have found their way
into the written Arabic of Egypt, Iraq, etc. Arabs don't write
colloquial Arabic (at least not in formal contexts) and dialect
dictionaries are specialized (colloquial Arabic-English dictionaries
are usually written in a phonetic transcription rather than in
the Arabic script). If you need a dialect dictionary, get one.
This isn't one.