HAFT QOLZOM (lit., The seven seas), the title of a Persian dictionary compiled in India in 1229-34 /1813-18 by Abu’l-Moẓaffar Ḡāzi-al-Din Ḥaydar (d. 1243/1827), the sultan of Awadh province in the State of Uttar Pradesh, and arranged and prefaced by Mawlawi Qabul-Moḥammad, a secretary and poet in his court. This voluminous work represents no originality except for the extravagant subdivision of its contents. The term qolzom is a corruption of Greek Clysma, which referred to an ancient seaport on the Red Sea, or Baḥr al-Qolzom in Arabic. The term has been used in Persian in the sense of “sea,” hence the title of this dictionary (Honigman and Ebied, p. 368; Moʿin, Farhang-e fārsi, pp. 2711-712).

The book is arranged in seven parts (qolzom), each one divided into several baḥrs (sea) that are further subdivided into čašmas (spring). The first six parts contain lexicographic materials (words, idiomatic or metaphoric phrases, and, occasionally, whole idiomatic sentences), totaling 22,709 entries (Naqawi, p. 218), and listed according to the first (in baḥrs) and final (in čašmas) letter of each item. In the case of the initial , , , , and ž, the term nahr (river) replaces čašma and is subdivided into juys (rivulet).

This dictionary is based mainly on the Borhān-e qāṭeʿ (q.v.). The last volume is devoted to discussions of the various aspects of Persian language: alphabet, figures of speech, morphology, prosody, rhetoric, etc. The grammatical contents, too, are culled from the similar introduction of the Borhān-e qāteʿ (ed. Moʿin’s, I, pp. b-m), itself adapted and summarized from that of the Enju’s Farhang-e jahāngiri (I, pp. 13-61, q.v.). The lengthy, detailed part on rhetoric and prosody is subdivided into sections, all labeled with nautical terminology. For instance, in the first baḥr, which discusses alphabet letters in seven sections (sāḥel), the fourth section deals with graphically similar letters and how to specify them verbally, the sixth explains the difference between hamza (ʾ) and alef, and the seventh defines each letter with a meaning that is totally absurd (e.g., “fat and slow woman”). Letters/bound morphemes (always confusing the two with each other) are treated in maʿbars (passageway), each one discussed under a zawraq (boat); for example, the second zawraq is about the letter alef (ā), which also constitutes the vocative morpheme (e.g., šāh-ā “o king!”) and the eleventh zawraq, about alef/suffix (e.g., zib-ā, dān-ā). The second baḥr deals with morphology in seven ābgirs (pond). The 3rd baḥr discusses, in eleven ruds (river), poetic forms such as ḡazal, qaṣida, robāʿi, and maṯnawi. The forth baḥr deals, in three jahāzes (vessel) subdivided into langars (anchor), with figures of speech (ṣanāyeʿ-e lafẓi), figures of thought (ṣanāyeʿ-e maʿnawi), and compounded figures (ṣanāyeʿ-e morakkab, i.e., when two or more of the said figures are used in a diptych or in a verse fragment).

As an indiscriminate transposition of materials from previous works, the Haft qolzom necessarily repeats their defects, errors, etc. For instance, it has incorporated the lexical forgeries of the author of the Dasātir (q.v.) and the ideograms (hozvāreš; q.v.), mistaken by the author of Borhān-e qāteʿ for genuine Persian words (for detailed critical accounts of the errors and fabrications in the latter work, see the prefatory articles by E. Pur-e Dāwud and ʿA.-A. Ḥekmat, in Borhān-e qāṭeʿ, ed. Moʿin, I, pp. lii-lix, lxxxi, cx ff.).

The Haft qolzom was first lithographed in three volumes in India in 1237/1821, and then in seven volumes in 1296/1879 with a lengthy table of contents; for subsequent lithographs see Mošār, Fehrest, col. 3407; Dabirsiaqi, p. 175).



Moḥammad-ʿAli Dāʿi-al-Eslām Lārijāni, Farhang-e Neẓām, 5 vols., litho., Hayderabad, Deccan, 1926-39.

Moḥammad Dabirsiāqi, Farhanghā-ye fārsi wa farhang-gunahā, Tehran, 1989, pp. 174-76.

Jamāl-al-Din Ḥosayn Enju Širāzi, Farhang-e jahāngiri, ed. Raḥim ʿAfifi, 3 vols., Mašhad, 1972-75.

E. Honigman and R. Y. Ebied, “Qolzom,” in EI2 V, pp. 367-69.

Šahriār Naqawi, Farhang-nevisi-e fārsi dar Hend o Pākestān, Tehran, 1962.

(Ṣafurā Hušyār)

Originally Published: July 20, 2002

Last Updated: July 20, 2002