Ar·​a·​bic | \ ˈa-rə-bik How to pronounce Arabic (audio) , ˈer-ə- \

Definition of Arabic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a Semitic language originally of the Arabs of the Hejaz and Nejd that is now the prevailing speech of a wide region of southwestern Asia and northern Africa



Definition of Arabic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting the language Arabic Arabic neologisms of the nineteenth century …— Bernard Lewis His bibliography contains no classical Arabic texts and only a handful of dubiously transliterated recent Arabic titles …— Pierre Cachia … edited and reviewed by Arabic scholars in Paris …— Edwin McDowell
2 : expressed in or utilizing Arabic numerals 21 is an Arabic number. Arabic notation
3 : of, relating to, or characteristic of Arabia or the Arabs As Arabic music permeates various other sounds, so are western sounds finding their way into various Arabic musics.— Hank Bordowitz The Middle East meets the Wild West in this variation on Arabic hummus.— Steven Raichlen There still exist some folk instruments in Portugal whose names indicate their Arabic origin.— Alexander Buchner

First Known Use of Arabic


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for Arabic

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The first known use of Arabic was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Arabic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce Arabic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of Arabic

: the language of the Arab people


Ar·​a·​bic | \ ˈer-ə-bik How to pronounce Arabic (audio) \

Kids Definition of Arabic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a language spoken in the Arabian Peninsula of southwestern Asia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and parts of northern Africa



Kids Definition of Arabic (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to the Arabian Peninsula of southwestern Asia, the Arabs, or Arabic


Medical Definition of arabic

— see gum arabic

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More from Merriam-Webster on Arabic

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Britannica English: Translation of Arabic for Arabic Speakers

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