1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Khalīl Ibn Aḥmad

21934211911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 15 — Khalīl Ibn AḥmadGriffithes Wheeler Thatcher

KHALĪL IBN AḤMAD [Abū ‛Abdurramān ul-Khalīl ibn Amad ibn ‛Amr ibn Tamīm] (718–791), Arabian philologist, was a native of Oman. He was distinguished for having written the first Arabic dictionary and for having first classified the Arabic metres and laid down their rules. He was also a poet, and lived the ascetic life of a poor student. His grammatical work was carried on by his pupil Sībawaihī. The dictionary known as the Kitāb-ul-‛Ain is ascribed, at least in its inception, to Khalīl. It was probably finished by one of his pupils and was not known in Bagdad until 862. The words were not arranged in alphabetical order but according to physiological principles, beginning with ‛Ain and ending with Ya. The work seems to have been in existence as late as the 14th century, but is now only known from extracts in manuscript.

Various grammatical works are ascribed to Khalīl, but their authenticity seems doubtful; cf. C. Brockelmann, Gesch. der arabischen Literatur, i. 100 (Weimar, 1898).  (G. W. T.)