Arabic Verb Forms XI-XV


root: ك-ث-ر / comparative, superlative / definition: more, most

As you can see, I couldn’t wait too long for another post about Arabic roots following our look at quadriliteral (four-letter-root) verb forms.

But this time, we’re going back to triliteral (three-letter) verb forms and exploring the ones above X—i.e. forms XI-XV (yes, they exist!).

If you need a reminder of forms I-X, then take a look at this verb form table. Otherwise, here’s a few notes before getting into the next five forms:

  • the roman numerals used to refer to the forms correspond to those used in the Hans Wehr dictionary (forms XI-XV mean 11-15, if you’re not all too familiar with this system)
  • the letters ف-ع-ل are used as the “typical root” to model each form
  • remember that the verbs in this post are all from three-letter roots—in some of the forms, you’ll notice that one of the root letters is used more than once; this doesn’t constitute a new root letter, it’s just the verb pattern
  • and finally, I didn’t include the “general meaning” column in the table below as we’ll go into a bit more detail about each form separately underneath

So without further ado:

Verb Forms XI-XV

(Click on the image to enlarge.)

A detailed look + examples

Form XI

general meaning: related to form IX, this form also refers to becoming/being a certain colour or having a physical trait—the difference is that form XI verbs indicate a more temporary or intense quality than form IX verbs

about the pattern: the important characteristics in the verb are the alif after the second root letter and the shadda on the final root letter—in the مصدر, the alif becomes a ي and the final root letter (that had the shadda) splits into two, with an alif in between


اِحْمارَّ / يَحْمارُّ / اِحْميرار

root: ح-م-ر

meaning: to become temporarily or extremely red

اِشْعانَّ / يَشْعانُّ / اِشْعينان

root: ش-ع-ن

meaning: for hair to be messy/dishevelled

Form XII

general meaning: like form XI, form XII verbs also tend to refer to a colour or physical quality

about the pattern: note the added و in the verb and how the second root letter occurs twice, on either side of the و—in the مصدر, the و becomes a ي


اِغْدَوْدَنَ / يَغْدَوْدِنُ / اِغْديدان

root: غ-د-ن

meaning: to grow long and luxuriantly (hair)

اِحْدَوْدَبَ / يَحْدَوْدِبُ / اِحْديداب

root: ح-د-ب

meaning: to be convex, humpbacked

(اِغْرَوْرَقَ / يَغْرَوْرِقُ / اِغْريراق (بِالدُّموع

root: غ-ر-ق

meaning: for the eyes to be overflowing (with tears)


general meaning: like the previous two forms, the meaning of form XIII verbs can centre around a colour or quality, but it can also refer to an action

about the pattern: we can see that وّ is added in both the verbs and the مصدر of this form


اِخْرَوَّطَ / يَخْرَوِّطُ / اِخْرِوّاط

root: خ-ر-ط

meaning: to last long

اِعْلَوَّطَ / يَعْلَوِّطُ / اِعْلِوّاط

root: ع-ل-ط

meaning: to mount a camel without a saddle

Form XIV

general meaning: again, the meanings of form XIV verbs often refer to colour or physical quality

about the pattern: notice that a ن is added after the second root letter and that the final root letter occurs twice—this pattern is similar to form III of quadriliteral roots, except that quadriliterals are composed of four, rather than three, root letters


اِسْحَنْكَكَ / يَسْحَنْكِكُ / اِسْحِنْكاك

root: س-ح-ك

meaning: to be extremely dark, pitch-black

اِحْلَنْكَكَ / يَحْلَنْكِكُ / اِحْلِنْكاك

root: ح-ل-ك

meaning: to be pitch-black

(note: this root also has a form XII verb with the same meaning, اِحْلَوْلَكَ / يَحْلَوْلِكُ / اِحْليلاك)

Form XV

general meaning: XV verbs tend to indicate a quality or action

about the pattern: like form XIV, this form has an added ن after the second root letter—it also has an added ى (past tense), ي (present tense), or اء (in the مصدر)


اِعْلَنْدى / يَعْلَنْدي / اِعْلِنْداء

root: ع-ل-د

meaning: to be stout and strong

اِسْرَنْدى / يَسْرَندي / اِسْرِنْداء

root: س-ر-د

meaning: to conquer, vanquish

(note: is it just me or does this verb sound like the English “surrender”?)

So now we know (or are at least familiar with) the fifteen Arabic verb forms! What examples of form XI-XV verbs do you know?

If you want to read some more about these rarer forms (and why they’re not archaic!), I recommend that you check out this brilliant article (and, honestly, all posts) on the Arabic for Nerds website.

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