FARHANG-EWAFĀʾI (or Resāla-ye Wafāʾi), a Persian lexicon of some 2,425 mainly literary terms, compiled by Ḥosayn Wafāʾi in 933/1527 and dedicated to the Safavid Shah Ṭahmāsb I (r. 1524-76). Entrees are arranged according to their final letters in twenty-six chapters (bāb) that are subdivided into sections (faṣl) in alphabetical order. It also contains an introduction that briefly deals with some aspects of phonetics and Arabic letters in the Persian alphabet.

Farhang-e Wafāʾi is based mainly on Ṣeḥāḥ al-fors of Moḥammad Naḵjavāni, with some additional materials, mostly from Farhang-nāma-ye kešmiri of Šams-al-Din Moḥammad Kešmiri and Meʿyār-e jamāli of Šams-e Faḵri Eṣfahāni. It served as the source and model for a number of subsequent dictionaries, including Majmaʿ al-fors (Farhang-e soruri) of Moḥammad-Qāsem Soruri Kāšāni and Farhang-e jahāngiri of Mir Jamāl-al-Din Ḥosayn Enju Širāzi.

The dictionary has a number of characteristic features: A) [verbal] specification of vowel points (fatḥa, żamma, kasra); B) special attention paid to obscure poetic terms, a fact that explains its having been used as a main reference by Abu’l-Ḥasan Farāhāni in his Šarḥ-e moškelāt-e divān-e Anwari, a 17th-century commentary elucidating obscure verses in Anwari’s divān; C) diversity of content, which includes compound words, grammatical forms, words of various Persian dialects, mostly of Shiraz (a possible indication of the author’s place of origin), terms of Arabic and Turkish origin, synonyms for utensils, words referring to food items, diseases, types of medicine, animals, birds, plants, musical instruments, agricultural tools, geographical names (countries, towns, villages), words for such natural phenomena as the sun, lightening, thunder, and hurricanes, as well as the names of historical and legendary personalities; and D) relatively extensive citation of Persian poetry as illustration; altogether, 100 poets have been quoted, including the author himself.

The dictionary is extant in a number of manuscripts (Storey III/1, pp. 17-18; Dabirsiāqi, 1989, pp. 77-78). Carl Salemann, in an article on Meʿyār-e jamāli, discussed at length (pp. 453-93) the manuscript of Wafāʾi’s dictionary in Bibliothèque National, enumerating its chapters, sections, and the entries in each section; he also quoted fragments of the book and listed the names of the poets in Soruri’s quotations from it.



Aziza Atachanova, “A Comparative and Thematic Study of Vocabulary from Dictionaries (Especially Concerning the Dictionary of Wafāʾi),” Ph.D diss., Rudaki Institute of Language and Literature in The Academy of Sciences in Tajikistan, 1974.

An abstract of the dissertation was published in 30 pages as Sravnitel’noe i tematicheskoe izuchenie leksiki farhangov(na materiale “Farhangnoma Huseina Wafoi), Dushanbe, 1974.

Idem, Farhang-noma-i Husain Wafoi, Dushanbe, 1986.

Henry Blochmann, “Contributions to Persian Lexcicography,” J(R)ASB, 37/1, 1868, pp. 5, 14.

Solomon Bayevsky, Opisanie persidskihk rukopiseiInstituta narodov Azii (Description of the Persian manuscripts at the Institute of Asian peoples), no. 4, Moscow, 1962, pp. 13, 72.

Idem, Rannyaya persidskaya lexicografiya XI-XV vv (Early Persian lexicography 11th-15th cent.), Moscow, 1989.

Moḥammad Dabirsiāqi, Farhanghā-ye fārsi wa farhang-gunahā, Tehran, 1989.

Idem, Farhanghā-ye fārsi ba fārsi, Tehran, 1996, pp. 78-82.

Moḥammad-ʿAli Dāʿi-al-Eslām, Farhang-e Neẓām, Hyderabad, Deccan, 1357/1938.

D. N. MacKenzie, “Ḳāmus,” in EI2 IV, p. 526.

Š. Naqavi, Farhang-nevisi-e fārsi dar Hend o Pākestān, Tehran, 1962.

Carl Salemann, “Bericht uber die Auasgabe des Miʿjari Jamāli,” in Melanges asiatique 9, St. Petersburg, 1888, pp. 453-93, 504-05, 522.

Ḥosayn Wafāʾi, Farhang-e Wafāʾi, ed. Teng Huizhu as Farhang-e fārsi, Tehran, 1995 (editor believes that it was compiled in China!).

(Solomon Bayevsky)

Originally Published: July 20, 2004

Last Updated: July 20, 2004