FARHANG-E JAHĀNGĪRĪ, one of the most complete and authoritative dictionaries of the Persian language, composed in India at the beginning of the 11th/17th century. Its author was Mīr Jamāl-al-Dīn Ḥosayn b. Fakr-al-Dīn Ḥasan Enjū Šīrāzī, who held the title ʿAżod-al-Dawla and was also known as Ḥosayn Enjū. Although born in Shiraz, he had lived in India since his early years and died in Agra in 1035/1626. He served at the Mughal court and rose to a high position under Akbar and Jahāngīr (Rieu, Persian Manuscripts II, pp. 496-98).

It took Ḥosayn Enjū twelve years to complete his dictionary (1005-17/1595-1608), which he named in honor of Jahāngīr. He produced a second edition in 1032/1622. The dictionary lists about 10,000 words taken from the works of Persian poets. (The exact number is 9,830 words: 8,960 Persian; 630 Arabic; 140 Indian; and about a hundred entries of Turkic and Greek origin as well as words from various dialects.) The entries are arranged in alphabetical order, but unlike all other Persian farhangs, which base the listing of entries on their first or last letter, Ḥosayn Enjū takes as a base the second letter of each word. Thus, the Farhang-e jahāngīrī consists of twenty-four chapters (bāb). Each chapter is further divided into sections (faṣl), which are arranged in an alphabetical order according to the first letter of the entries they contain. The dictionary indicates the pronunciation of the words in a descriptive manner, specifying the sequence of vowels. Entries are usually extensive, with definitions supported by examples in verse, citing the names of the poets. This makes Farhang-e jahāngīrī particularly useful, since it preserves about a thousand verses by four hundred poets, including Rūdakī, Daqīqī, Ferdowsī, Šahīdī, Farroḵī, Asadī, Anwarī, Ḵāqānī, Sanāʾī, Sūzanī, Amīr Ḵosrow, and Neẓāmī Ganjavī (qq.v.).

Farhang-e jahāngīrī contains also the author’s introduction (moqaddema), and a supplement (ḵātema). The introduction incorporates a detailed lexico-grammatical study divided into twelve sections (āyīn), with information on the geographical distribution of the Persian language, the alphabet, the pronunciation of certain phonemes, orthography, pronominal suffixes, adverbs, conjunctions, dialects, and the like. In the supplement Ḥosayn Enjū gives five special glossaries (dar), which explain metaphorical expressions and poetic terms; Arabic and Persian compound words; words containing one of the characteristic Arabic letters; Avestan words; and loanwords from Turkic, Greek, and Indian languages.

Ḥosayn Enjū mentions the sources for his dictionary in its introduction. He lists forty-four Persian dictionaries, including Farhang-e Abū Ḥafṣ Soḡdī, Farhang-e Qaṭrān, Loḡat-e fors of Asadī Ṭūsī (q.v.), Lesān al-šoarāʾ, Farhang-e zafāngūyā, Ṣeḥāḥ al-fors, Majmaʿ al-fors, and Madār al-afāżel. Judging from the text of the entries, Ḥosayn Enjū also used nine other lexicographies, as well as works on geography, history, astronomy, and medicine. In addition, he gathered material from oral sources and from native speakers of different dialects. Ḥosayn Enjū’s dictionary represents one of the earliest serious attempts to discuss the grammatical structure of the Persian language and to classify its lexicon. The number of surviving manuscripts attests to its popularity (Figures 1-2). One of the oldest of these manuscripts, dating from 1024/1615—that is, copied during the lifetime of the author—belongs to the collection of the Oriental Institute in St. Petersburg (Baevskiĭ, no. 24); unfortunately this manuscript has never been used in published editions of the text.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short Reference”):

S. Baevskiĭ [Bayevsky], Opisanie persidskikh rukopiseĭ Instituta narodov Azii (Description of the Persian manuscripts at the Institute of Asian peoples), fasc. 4, Moscow, 1962, pp. 38-43.

Idem, Rannyaya persidskaya leksikografiya XI–XV vv. (Early Persian lexicography, 11th–15th centuries), Moscow, 1989.

H. Blochmann, “Contributions to Persian Lexicography,” JRASB 37/1, 1868, pp. 1-72.

Mīr Jamāl-al-Dīn Ḥosayn Enjū Šīrāzī, Farhang-e jahāngīrī, Lucknow, 1876 (lithograph); ed. R. ʿAfīfī, 3 vols., Mašhad, 1351 Š./1972 (reviewed by S. Baevskiĭ in Narody Azii i Afriki 6, 1975, pp. 196-97); 2nd ed., Mašhad, 1980. P. de Lagarde, Persische Studien, Göttingen, 1884.

D. N. MacKenzie, “Ḳāmūs: ii. Persian Lexicography,” in EI² IV, p. 526.

Š. Naqawī, Farhang-nevīsī-e fārsī dar Hend wa Pākestān, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962.

C. Salemann, “Bericht über die Ausgabe des Miʿjar i Jamālī,” in Mélanges Asiatiques (St. Petersburg) 9, 1888, pp. 417-594. Storey, III/1, pp. 26-29.

(Solomon Bayevsky)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999