The history of Arabic lexicography is long and extremely varied. But no matter what dictionary one is looking at, it is always organized in a certain way and always has a certain level of detail. Thus, some of the early dictionaries centered around one or more particular themes, such as insects or weapons. Other dictionaries - the majority - brought together any word material, irrespective of subject or theme. Some dictionaries offered a lot of material in explanation of some term while others offered less. Abū Naṣr al-Jawharī’s (d. 393/1003) famous
Tāj al-lugha wa-ṣiḥāḥ al-ʿArabiyya is an example of an early dictionary which offered a lot of detailed explanations. The earliest abbreviation of it and indeed the earliest abbreviation of any medieval Arabic dictionary, was the work by Shihāb al-Dīn Zanjānī (d. 656/1258) contained in this volume. Long believed to have been lost, it is published here for the very first time.