FARHANG-E SORŪRĪ, a dictionary of the Persian language, also known as Majmaʿ al-fors and Loḡat-e Sorūrī, compiled by the Persian poet Moḥammad-Qāsem Sorūrī, who was born in Kāšān and lived in Isfahan, was known to his contemporaries as a man of outstanding literary erudition who knew over thirty thousand verses (bayts) by heart (Rieu, Persian Manuscripts II, pp. 498-99, citing Tāqī-al-Dīn Kāšī). The famous Italian traveler Pietro Della Valle (q.v.) met the poet in Isfahan in November 1622 and wrote a description of the encounter in his Viaggi di Pietro Della Valle il Pellegrino (Rome, 1650-58). Sorūrī composed his dictionary in 1008/1599-1600 and dedicated it to Shah ʿAbbās I. After 1032/1622-23 Sorūrī lived in Lahore, India. By 1028/1618, having become acquainted with the Farhang-e jahāngīrī (q.v.), Sorūrī prepared a second version of his own dictionary, considerably expanding its lexicon and adding a second introduction. Sorūrī died after 1036/1626 while on his way to Mecca.

The Farhang-e Sorūrī has over six thousand entries, mainly archaic words of Persian (non-Arabic) origin found in the works of early Persian poets and rarely used in the 11th/17th century. The dictionary consists of the two introductions, twenty-eight chapters, and a supplement. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order. Words beginning with the same letter make up a chapter (bāb). Within chapters, words are arranged in sections (faṣl) according to their last letter. Most entries are extended, listing several meanings of the word. The author often gives the pronunciation of the word in different regions of Persia, indicating the sequence of vowels. Definitions are illustrated with quotations from early Persian poets such as Daqīqī, Ferdowsī, Asadī Ṭūsī, ʿOnṣorī, Farroḵī, Sūzanī, Monjīk, Sanāʾī, Anwarī (qq.v.). The supplement contains a special chapter on metaphors, Bāb al-esteʿārāt, with entries arranged in alphabetical order.

Sorūrī’s lexicon is particularly important since it includes among its sources the Farhang-e Abū Ḥafṣ Soḡdī (seeABŪ ḤAFṢ SOḠDĪ), one of the first Persian farhangs, which was composed towards the end of the 3rd/9th or beginning of the 4th/10th century and is no longer extant. Sorūrī cites several passages from this dictionary. The introduction lists sixteen other early farhangs known to Sorūrī, including the Loḡat-e fors, Ṣeḥāḥ al-fors, Meʿyār-e jamālī, Adāt al-fożalāʾ, Farhang-e zafāngūyā, Farhang-e ebrāhīmī, Moʿayyed al-fożalāʾ, Toḥfat al-aḥbāb, etc. (see DICTIONARIES i.). Analysis of the entries in Sorūrī’s dictionary reveals that he used many other sources besides those mentioned in the introduction. Twenty-two additional works are cited in the text, among them other dictionaries—Persian-Turkish and Arab-Persian in particular—as well as various works on history and geography. Farhang-e Sorūrī in its turn was used by many later lexicographers. It is listed among the sources of the Farhang-e rašīdī and Borhān-e qāṭeʿ (qq.v.).

Sorūrī’s is significant since it was composed in Persia at a time when Persian lexicography was being developed mainly in India. Especially noteworthy is its relation to Farhang-e jahāngīrī: The two dictionaries appeared almost at the same time and had indisputable influence on one another. Moreover, each of them documents the state of current Persian vocabulary (pronunciation in particular) in Persia and India respectively.


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

S. Baevskiĭ [Bayevsky], Opisanie persidskikh rukopiseĭ Instituta narodov Azii (Description of the Persian manuscripts of the Institute of the peoples of Asia.), fasc. 4, Moscow, 1962, pp. 33-38.

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

H. Blochmann, “Contribution to Persian Lexicography,” J(R)ASB 37/1, 1868, pp. 1-72.

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 Jamāli,” Melanges Asiatiques (St. Petersburg) 9, 1888, pp. 417-594.

Moḥammad-Qāsem b. Ḥājī Moḥammad Sorūrī Kāšānī, Farhang-e Sorūrī, ed. M. Dabīrsīāqī as Majmaʿ al-fors, 3 vols., Tehran, 1338-41 Š./1959-62.

Storey, III/1, pp. 23-25.

(Solomon Bayevsky)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999