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See also: حتی‎, حبي, and جبي




  • Traditionally, Arabic Grammarians link it to the root ح ت ت(ḥ-t-t) in the senses of "to scrape or rub off", "to remove or destroy", "to end something", "to drive back or repel"; hence the meaning of an end-limit, the ending barrier or the point that holds back.
  • Some classical dialects attest the word as عَتَّى(ʿattā) which is closer to the cognate in Ugaritic 𐎓𐎄 (ʿd), Hebrew עַד(ʿaḏ), Aramaic עַד(ʿaḏ), and Akkadian 𒀀𒁲 (adi). Deriving then from the root ع ت ي(ʿ-t-y), meaning "to be excessive", "to push the limits or be at the threshold", "to be extremely old or at the extreme end of life". Compare also حَدّ(ḥadd), denoting a limit as well.


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حَتَّى (ḥattā)

  1. until, as far as, to the point of, even up to
    أَكَلْتُ ٱلسَّمَكَةَ حَتَّى رَأْسِهَا
    ʾakaltu s-samakata ḥattā raʾsihā
    I ate the fish, until its head


حَتَّى (ḥattā)

  1. until
    Synonym: إِلَى أَنْ(ʾilā ʾan)
  2. in order to, so that
    Synonyms: كَيْ(kay), لِ(li), لِأَنْ(liʾan), لِكَيْ(likay), مِنْ أَجْلِ أَنْ (min ʾajli ʾan), لِأَجْلِ أَنْ (liʾajli ʾan)
  3. even
    خَرَجَ النَّاسُ حَتَّى ٱلْأَطْفَالُ.‎‎
    ḵaraja n-nāsu ḥattā l-ʾaṭfālu.
    The people went forth, even the children
    كُلُّ تَعْمِيمٍ بَاطِلٌ، حَتَّى هَذَا التَّعْمِيمُ.‎‎
    kullu taʿmīmin bāṭilun, ḥattā hāḏā t-taʿmīmu.
    All generalizations are false, including this one.

Usage notesEdit

  • حَتَّى (ḥattā) is followed under most conveyed circumstances by the subjunctive mood; the details are complicated, see Wild 1980 for more.
  • Unlike إِلَى(ʾilā) and عَلَى(ʿalā), this preposition never has the pronominal suffixes added to it: *حَتَّيَّ (*ḥattayya), *حَتَّيْكَ (*ḥattayka), etc. do not exist.


حَتَّى (ḥattā)

  1. even, even this, including, even if
  2. finally, until finally
  3. (rare, disputed) unless, only if


  • Bashkir: хатта (xatta, even)
  • Portuguese: até (until)
  • Spanish: hasta (until)
  • Somali: xitaa (even)


ʾAbū Zakariyyā al-Farrāʾ (761-822 C.E.), an influential grammarian, famously quotes about حَتَّى (ḥattā) saying: “ʾamūtu wafī nafsī min ḥattā šayʾun” – “I shall die, while in my soul there is something off about ḥatta”, referring to his frustrations with its usage and grammatical complexities.


  • Lane, Edward William (1863), “حت”, in Arabic-English Lexicon, London: Williams & Norgate, pages 508-510
  • Lane, Edward William (1863), “عتى”, in Arabic-English Lexicon, London: Williams & Norgate, page 1951; specifically mentions the dialects of Huḏayl and Thaqīf.
  • Olmo Lete, Gregorio del; Sanmartín, Joaquín; Watson, Wilfred G. E. (2015), “ʿd”, in A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition (Handbook of Oriental Studies; 112), 3rd edition, Leiden: Brill, →ISBN, pages 142–143
  • Sadan, Arik (2012), “ḤATTĀ”, in The Subjunctive Mood in Arabic Grammatical Thought, Leiden: Brill, pages 197–249
  • Wild, Stefan (1980), “Die Konjunktion ḥattā mit dem Indikativ Perfekt im klassischen Arabisch”, in Diem, Werner; Wild, Stefan, editors, Studien aus Arabistik und Semitistik. Anton Spitaler zum siebzigsten Geburtstag, von seinen Schülern überreicht, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, pages 204–223