Classical Arabic: stick

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan

What are the classical Arabic words for 'stick' (French: bâton; German: Stab)? I can think of two: عَصا and مِنْسَأَة. Is there a difference between them or do they mean exactly the same thing?

فَلَمَّا قَضَيْنَا عَلَيْهِ الْمَوْتَ مَا دَلَّهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَوْتِهِ إِلَّا دَابَّةُ الْأَرْضِ تَأْكُلُ مِنسَأَتَهُ ۖ فَلَمَّا خَرَّ تَبَيَّنَتِ الْجِنُّ أَن لَّوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ الْغَيْبَ مَا لَبِثُوا فِي الْعَذَابِ الْمُهِينِ (سبأ:14)

وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَىٰ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ ۖ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ ۖ كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا مِن رِّزْقِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ (البقرة:60)

شكرا جزيلا
  • You read the following in Lane's Lexicon:
    "مِنْسَأَةٌ (S, K) and ↓ مَنْسَأَةٌ, (K,) and also without ء, (S, K,) A staff, or stick: so called because a beast is urged or driven with it: (K:) a pastor's great staff. (TA.) For مِنْسَأَتَهُ, in the Kur, xxxiv. 13, some read مِنْ سَأَتِهِ; i. e. “ from, or of, the end of his staff; ” سأَة originally signifying the “ bent part at each end of a bow; ” (Fr, TA, &c.;) and being here used tropically. (TA.) This reading is disapproved by the author of the K. but is supported by good authorities. (TA.)"
    A simple stick is عود, قضيب or خَشَبَة.
    عصا is (still a stick) equivalent to a cane and so is عُكَّازة and مِخْصَرة, there is also هرواة which is a club.
    A simple stick is عود, قضيب or خَشَبَة.
    I’m not sure about قضيب and خشبة. The question is about Classical Arabic and my understanding is that قضيب referred specifically to a branch that has been broken off, it would obviously eventually become a stick but I wouldn’t call that a “simple stick” as it has an additional layer to the meaning. I would say that قضيب is a twig.

    As for خشبة, that means a piece of wood, it could be a stick but it could also be a plank or a splinter. Again, not so simple.