Arabic Language Blog

Keywords around libraries المكتبات Posted by on Sep 6, 2021 in Arabic Language, Literature, Uncategorized, Vocabulary

Welcome to this new blog post مرحبا بكم في هذه المدوّنة جديدة 🙂 Today, we’re going to learn about the theme of libraries المكتبات and some of the keywords المفردات الرئيسية around them – in Standard Arabic العربية الفصحى. The post will be vocabulary focused.


Photo by Pixabay from Pexels


A library مَكْتَبَة


As may of you probably know, the word ‘Maktabah’ is derived from the root كـ تـ ب, i.e. write/writing.


From this root, we have three keywords around the theme of libraries and these are:

‘Kataba’ كَـتَـبَ = (he) wrote

‘Kitaab’ كِـتَابْ = a book

‘Kaatib’ كَاتِبْ = writer/author


– The plural form the word ‘library’ it is مكتبات libraries.


*A library مكتبة could be both a place for reading books مَكَانٌ لِقِرَاءَةِ الكُتُبِ and a place buying books مَكَانٌ لِبَيْعِ الكُتُبِ.

While it’s usually called a bookstore مَتْجَرُ كُتُبْ in the latter case, in the Arab world – interestingly – this phrase is not used much in everyday Arabic and is a bookstore is simply called a library مكتبة!

 = = = = = = = =


Keywords round books:


To write يكتب

To read يقرأ

To browse/ skim يتصفح

Words كلمات

to buy (acquire) books يقتني كتب

Book series سلسلة كتب

Number of pages عدد الصفحات

سنة النشر Publishing year

الطبعة The edition

Summary نبذة

Book introduction مقدّمة كتاب

Blurb دعاية

 = = = = = = = =


At the book fair في معرض الكتاب:


Publishing house دار النشر

The publisher الناشر

Ward جناح

List of books قائمة الكتب

Best selling books الكتب الأكثر مبيعًا

 = = = = = = = =


Book Genres/ Categories فِئات/تصنيفات الكتب:

At any library or a book fair, you will find that books are usually categorised مُصَنَّفة into these categories التصنيفات/ الفئات. These are some of the main ones:


Fiction Books الكتب الروائية

Non-Fiction Books الكتب غير الروائية


 = = = = = = = =


Fiction & Literature الأدب والخيال


الروايات Novels

القصص Stories/Tales

 السِير والمذكرات Autobiographies and diaries

الأدب الإسلامي Islamic Literature

المسرحيات Plays

الأعمال الكاملة The complete works
 = = = = = = = =

 Journalism & Media الصحافة والإعلام


 Political books الكتب السياسية

الدين والسياسة Religion and Politics
المنظمات والأحزاب Organisations and (political) parties
الدبلوماسية Diplomacy
السياسة الدولية The international politics

 = = = = = = = =

Economics & business الاقتصاد والأعمال

إدارة الأعمال Business Administration
المحاسبة Accounting
الاستثمار Investment

 = = = = = = = =

 التاريخ والجغرافيا History & Geography 


 الأسرة والطفل

 الأطفال Children
التربية الجنسية Sex education
شؤون المرأة Woman affairs
العلاقات الزوجية Marital relationships
الجمال Beauty
الأزياء Fashion
 تربية الأطفال Child-rearing

 = = = = = = = =



Translated Books كتب مترجمة 


 Islamic Books الكتب الإسلامية


الفنون Arts 

تاريخ الفن Art History
الفنون الإسلامية Islamic Arts
النحت Sculpturing
المسرح Theatre
النقد الفني Art criticism

 = = = = = = = =

Philosophy الفلسفة

علم النفس Psychology

كتب التنمية البشرية Self Development Books

Self help books كتب تطوير الذات

 = = = = = = = =


One of the very famous libraries (as a cultural centre مركز ثقافي) is: Bibliotheca Alexandrina مكتبة الإسكندرية.

If interested, you can watch this vlog that provides a quick tour of the library – in Egyptian Arabic.


Online Arabic stores are a bit scarce, but those few ones do provide shipping شحن of actual books (paperback books كتب ورقية) to most countries.

I personally used this popular bookstore to buy paperback books:


 ١– متجر جملون


They also provide electronic ones/ kindle editions.

 ٢– نيل وفرات

 = = = = = = = =


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About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.