Arabic Words for “Eternity”


root: ج-ز-ر / noun / plural: جُزُر / definition: island

I’ve spent the past week reconnecting with my home from home: backpacking around Majorca and reacquainting myself with its beaches and towns, and visiting the school I once attended for a year in our village in the south of the island.

Ah, those irresistible crystal-clear turquoise waters make you want to stay forever. (What I hope don’t last forever, though, are the tan lines I now have around my face and wrists…)

Speaking of forever, here are some Arabic nouns that all mean “eternity” but differ slightly semantically:

أَبَد / أَبَديّة

root: ء-ب-د

أبد and أبديّة refer to a duration with no end (but with a beginning).

The latter carries the abstract noun ending ـيّة, something discussed briefly at the beginning of Arabic Observations: the Abstract Noun of a Question?.

خُلد / خُلود

root: خ-ل-د

Whilst خُلد and خُلود may be used refer to eternity, some mention that these words actually refer to a really long time period that does eventually end.

I remember one of my teachers mentioned this to me a little while back actually.

أَزَل / أَزَليّة

root: ء-ز-ل

أزل and أزليّة—the latter again carrying the abstract ending—refer to a period with no beginning (but with an end).


root: س-ر-م-د

The quadriliteral word سرمد refers to a duration which has no beginning or end.


root: ن-ه-ي

This abstract noun carries the attached لا prefix, which flips the meaning of the word.

نِهائي is the nisba adjective of نهاية (“end”), so it denotes something with an end, or the last of something. لانِهائي means “endless”. And اللانِهائيّة refers to endlessness or eternity.


root: د-ه-ر

دهر, like خلد and خلود, is another word that refers to a very long period of time but is also used to mean eternity.

The Hans Wehr gives us some interesting collocations under this word such as دهر الداهِرين and إلى آخِر الدهر, both meaning “for all eternity”.

I think these are all the words I’ve come across so far that mean “eternity”. Do you know any others?

!في أمان الله

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