Wehr Wednesdays #23

A new word or phrase from the Hans Wehr dictionary, every Wednesday.


اضمحل iḍmaḥalla to disappear, vanish, dwindle, fade away, melt away; to decrease, become less


Root: ض-م-ح-ل

Page: 636*

Example: “اِضْمَحَلَّت آثارُهُم عَلى مَرِّ التّاريخ”

Translation: “their traces faded away over the course of history”


A bit of extra info, as I find this word particularly fascinating:

  • اِضْمَحَلَّ (present tense: يَضْمَحِلُّ, verbal noun: الاِضْمِحْلال) is derived from a quadriliteral (four-letter) root
  • it’s a form IV verb** of the quadriliteral, meaning that the pattern is: اِفْعَلَلَّ / يَفْعَلِلُّ, with the مصدر (verbal noun) in the اِفْعِلْلال pattern (edit: I’ve since created a post about quadriliteral verb forms!)
  • verbs of this form are intransitive and express the intensity/degree of a quality; in terms of general meaning, this form corresponds to form IX of triliteral (three-letter) roots
  • other verbs of the same form include: اِطْمَأَنَّ (to be calm, reassured), اِقْشَعَرَّ (to shudder, shiver), and اِكْفَهَرَّ (to be/become dark, gloomy)
  • I first encountered the word اضمحلال in an episode of the Arabic Circle podcast about Arabic poetry, which you can listen to here.

You can now revise all of the Wehr Wednesday vocab so far on Quizlet here to stay on top of things!


* The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, 4th Edition

** This is according to A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic, although scholars have taken different opinions about the numbering of quadriliteral verb forms.

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