Definition of Syriac in English:



mass noun
  • The language of ancient Syria, a western dialect of Aramaic in which many important early Christian texts are preserved, and which is still used by Syrian Christians as a liturgical language.

    • ‘He became skilled in languages as a young man, in particular learning Arabic at Basra and also learning Syriac.’
    • ‘He also steeped himself in the biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew, and even found time to master Aramaic and Syriac.’
    • ‘The work survives as a pastiche taken from various manuscripts in Arabic, Coptic, Latin, Syriac, Sahidic, Bohairic, Ethiopian, and Greek (in which it was originally composed).’
    • ‘He was unique in England in his deep knowledge of contemporary German theology and was also a prodigious scholar of Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew.’
    • ‘Alexander often gave answers in Syriac or Celtic to barbarians who questioned him in their own tongue, though he had difficulty in finding compatriots of theirs in the city.’
    • ‘And of course Syriac, like all Semitic languages, has word breaks.’
    • ‘Aristotle's Rhetoric has been read by some ancient speakers of Greek, Syriac, and Arabic as the completion of his logic in a contingent, probabilistic direction.’
    • ‘Leaving his wife and two small children with his mother, he set off to study French, Arabic and Syriac and become acquainted with the developing discipline of biblical criticism.’
    • ‘There are 220 volumes in the section in Latin, Syriac and Greek and it is one of the largest such collections in Asia.’
    • ‘They are normally inscribed in one of three Aramaic dialects - Jewish-Aramaic, Syriac, and Mandaic - though some bowls are known which are inscribed in Persian (Pehlevi).’
    • ‘The lingua franca of the empire was Greek although some of the empire's inhabitants spoke Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, and other local languages, but did not have national consciousness with its contemporary meaning.’
    • ‘Galen's views about the four humours and the importance of food for health were translated into Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew, and finally Latin.’
    • ‘As a boy, he also taught himself to read Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Chaldean and Chinese, and he would later add Coptic, Ethiopic, Sanskrit, Zend, Pahlevi and Persian.’
    • ‘Take the case of Silvestre de Sacy who knew Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldean, Arabic, Persian and Turkish and was to hold significant teaching and administrative positions within the French education system.’
    • ‘The translation of the Bible into Latin marks the beginning of a parting of the ways between Western Latin-speaking Christianity and Eastern Christianity, which spoke Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, and other languages.’
    • ‘In a poignant letter written in Syriac from prison to his son, Mara bar Serapion points out that those who persecuted wise men were overtaken by misfortune.’
    • ‘In Syriac, the word used here for ‘monk’ is ‘mourner.’’
    • ‘Many European languages, but also Oriental languages are represented, such as Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Hebrew and even Chinese.’
    • ‘To a large extent these had been pushed into obscurity, but such languages as Coptic and Syriac can already be found in the later empire.’
    • ‘It is understood that as a boy he had also taught himself, or tried to learn, Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Chaldean and Chinese.’


  • Relating to Syriac.

    • ‘He was well-acquainted with the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Syriac version of the New Testament, and the post-Biblical Jewish writings.’
    • ‘In such cases they fulfil the basic requirement of Syriac sentence structure (namely, that the predicate must be conjugated for person) twice: once within the copula, and once within the verb of existence.’
    • ‘Apart from lacunae, this MS is also an abridgement of the original, but Malalas was used by later Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Latin, and Slavonic writers and through these adaptations a fuller version of the original has been reconstructed.’
    • ‘The later Theophany, extant in Syriac translation, and his last works repeat many of the same apologetic themes.’
    • ‘The battle is also mentioned in Armenian, Syriac, Islamic, and western European sources.’