abjad (plural abjads)

  1. A writing system for Arabic, historically also employed as a numeral system, in which there is one glyph (symbol or letter) for each consonant but vowels are not specified.
    • 2014, Agnès Nilüfer Kefeli, Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia: Conversion, Apostasy, and Literacy, Cornell University Press, unnumbered page ↗,
      In Rabghuzi's Stories of the Prophets, a teacher asked Jesus, who was seven years old at the time, to repeat the alphabet and the abjad by rote.
    • 2018, Amine Bouchentouf, Arabic for Dummies, Wiley, 3rd Edition, page 16 ↗,
      Abjad is the writing system used in this book, and it's also the writing system used throughout the Arabic world. For instance, most newspapers you pick up in the Middle East use the abjad writing system, whereby the consonants are included but not the vowels.
  2. (linguistics) Any writing system in which glyphs are used to represent consonants or consonantal phonemes, but not vowels.
    Languages that use abjads include Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu. Abjads differ from syllabaries (such as the Japanese hiragana) in that the vowel quality of each letter is left unspecified, and must be inferred from context and grammar.
  3. The system of abjad numerals; a numeral system in which the letters of the Arabic abjad are interpreted as numerals, typically used to enumerate lists and nested lists, as well as in numerology.
    • 1971, Mohibbul Hasan, History of Tipu Sultan, Aakar Books, 2nd Edition, 2005 Reprint, page 399 ↗,
      The other names had no significance, except that the initial letter of each month denoted its place in the calendar according to the abjad system, which assigned a certain numerical power to every letter in the alphabet.
    • 2010, Stephen Chrisomalis, Numerical Notation: A Comparative History, Cambridge University Press, page 166 ↗,
      As Islam spread eastward throughout the eighth century AD as far as the Indus River, the Indian style of numeration began to diffuse westward and supplant the Arabic abjad, which itself was still a novelty in western regions such as North Africa.
  • (writing system with a glyph for each consonant) consonantary
  • French: abjad
  • German: Abdschad
  • Portuguese: abjad
  • Russian: а́бджа́д
  • Spanish: abyad, abjad

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