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Among Arab groups, a term denoting a tribe, clan, family, or other patrilineal filiation. It often refers to a ruling line or dynasty and generally precedes a substantive name (e.g., Al Sa'ud) but is not connected by a hyphen; it is unrelated to the Arabic definite article, al-. In Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, entries for Arab tribal and dynastic groups are alphabetized under the substantive (e.g., for Al Sa'ud, seeSa'ud dynasty).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Al, visit Britannica.com.