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See also: شیطان




The formation can be understood as an extension to the root ش ي ط (š-y-ṭ) meaning “to singe” by the the ـَان (-ān) suffix, however Ge'ez ሠይጣን (śäyṭan), ሰይጣን (säyṭan) has to be explained. The assumption of it being borrowed from Arabic would only be tenable if Judaism or Christianity were earlier in Yemen than in Ethiopia, and the meaning shows a specialization from Hebrew שָׂטָן (śāṭān) and Classical Syriac ܣܛܢܐ (sāṭānā) over Ge'ez to Arabic. It has a more general meaning “adversary” in Hebrew and Syriac, where Ethiopic has it only as a side meaning, and Arabic has it just for “Satan” and has even generalized the usage in the other direction to denote all kinds of demonic beings.



شَيْطَان (šayṭānm (plural شَيَاطِين (šayāṭīn))

  1. (religion) Satan, devil, shaitan
  2. demon, fiend




  • شيطان” in J.A. Haywood and H.M. Nahmad (1965), A new Arabic grammar (second edition), London: Lund Humphries, ISBN 0-85331-585-X
  • Leslau, Wolf (1991) Comparative Dictionary of Geʿez (Classical Ethiopic), 2nd edition, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, ISBN 978-3-447-02592-8, pages 522–523
  • Nöldeke, Theodor (1910) Neue Beiträge zur semitischen Sprachwissenschaft[1], Straßburg: Karl J. Trübner, page 47
  • Wehr, Hans (1979), “شيطن”, in J. Milton Cowan, editor, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, 4th edition, Ithaca, NY: Spoken Language Services, ISBN 0-87950-003-4