Definition of Aramaic in English:



  • [mass noun] A branch of the Semitic family of languages, especially the language of Syria used as a lingua franca in the Near East from the 6th century bc. It replaced Hebrew locally as the language of the Jews, and though displaced by Arabic in the 7th century ad, it still has about 200,000 speakers in scattered communities.

    • ‘As the Arab Empire grew, Arabic replaced the Aramaic, Coptic, Greek, and Latin languages and became the main instrument of Arab culture.’
    • ‘Orthodox and Melkite liturgies are in Arabic and Greek; Maronite liturgy is in Arabic and Aramaic.’
    • ‘He was an educated man, who spoke ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish, Torah and English.’
    • ‘The entire dialogue is subtitled, with Aramaic, Latin and Hebrew spoken throughout the movie by the cast.’
    • ‘The King James' Bible is an English translation of the Bible from the original languages, including Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek.’
    • ‘Here was a formidable antiquarian and linguist, fluent in classical and romance languages, as well as Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Aramaic, Anglo-Saxon, and a half dozen others.’
    • ‘The apocryphal texts have largely been preserved in Greek translation, though originally many of the texts appeared in Hebrew and/or Aramaic.’
    • ‘Arabic is a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Aramaic.’
    • ‘In addition to Aramaic, Raskas speaks Hebrew, German and Yiddish.’
    • ‘The series of 15-minute films, in which the actors' words in Hebrew and Aramaic are muted under a voiceover narration in English, were designed for educational purposes.’
    • ‘Tigrinya, the language spoken by the Tigray, is from the Semitic family of languages, and is related to Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic.’
    • ‘He was a man of immense learning, with a wide knowledge of the sciences and of languages: Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.’
    • ‘In Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic, but not Persian, the ‘n’ is doubled: tannûr.’
    • ‘The dialogue, meanwhile, is entirely in Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic (the language spoken in ancient Palestine).’
    • ‘Among those who converted at this time was Onkelos, reportedly Nero's nephew, who subsequently translated the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic.’
    • ‘Arabic, the language of the majority and the official language of the country, is a Semitic tongue related to Hebrew, Aramaic, and Amharic.’
    • ‘Arabic displaced Coptic and Aramaic in the Near East as people converted to Islam, from the seventh century through the medieval period.’
    • ‘Fulco is the Jesuit scholar who translated the script into Aramaic, Hebrew, and Latin, and then translated everything back again into the English subtitles for the film.’
    • ‘They also differ from other Iraqis in that their ancestral language is not Arabic but a dialect of Aramaic, also referred to as Chaldean, Assyrian, or Syriac.’


  • Relating to Aramaic.

    • ‘Incised on one of the James ossuary's long sides, the inscription consists of a single line of twenty small Aramaic characters.’
    • ‘The Guardian publishes a handy guide to Aramaic phrases.’
    • ‘Early on, the text of the inscription itself raised doubts among experts familiar with Aramaic scripts.’
    • ‘Chilton, for example, is one of the leading Aramaic specialists in the United States.’
    • ‘They were allowed to keep their Aramaic liturgy.’
    • ‘Maranatha, mentioned in some books in the Bible, is a word in the Aramaic language which means ‘Come, o Lord!’’
    • ‘This plain-looking limestone box carries the Aramaic inscription, ‘James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.’’
    • ‘It had been written in the Aramaic language in Syriac script.’
    • ‘There are sections devoted to the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages, to warfare, the arts and law.’
    • ‘However, the Christians of Mesopotamia, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon kept the Aramaic language alive domestically, scholastically and liturgically.’
    • ‘An Aramaic dialect, called Syriac, has been the traditional liturgical language of the ancient Christian groups found in south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and northern Iran.’
    • ‘The choice of Latin and Aramaic languages with subtitles does add an air of believability to the period setting.’
    • ‘The Aramaic language has been in the news recently.’
    • ‘Now comes the reading of the Ketubah (marriage contract) in the original Aramaic text.’
    • ‘In the centuries following the end of the Nabatean kingdom, the Arabs in Syria and Jordan and probably those who had settled in southern Iraq gradually started using the Nabatean Aramaic script to write their spoken language, Arabic.’
    • ‘The Archbishop of Aleppo, Ignacio Zeade, who represented the Maronite rite, celebrated mass using the Aramaic language.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek Aramaios of Aram (the biblical name of Syria) + -ic.