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Khalil Ibn Ahmad

KHALIL IBN AHMAD [ABU 'ABDURRAHMAN UL-KHALIL IBN AHMAD IBN 'AMR IBN TAMIM] (718-791), Arabian philologist, was a native of Oman. He was distinguished for having written the first Arabic dictionary and for having first classified the Arabic metres and laid down their rules. He was also a poet, and lived the ascetic life of a poor student. His grammatical work was carried on by his pupil Sibawaihi. The dictionary known as the Kitab-id-'Ain is ascribed, at least in its inception, to Khalil. It was probably finished by one of his pupils and was not known in Bagdad until 862. The words were not arranged in alphabetical order but according to physiological principles, beginning with 'Ain and ending with Ya. The work seems to have been in existence as late as the 14th century, but is now only known from extracts in manuscript.

Various grammatical works are ascribed to Khalil, but their authenticity seems doubtful; cf. C. Brockelmann, Cesch. der arabischen Literatur, i. loo (Weimar, 1898). (G. W. T.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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