- (linguistics) A writing system, similar to a syllabary, in which there is one glyph (that is a symbol or letter) for each consonant or consonantal phoneme. Some languages that use abjads are Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu. Abjads differ from syllabaries (such as the Japanese hiragana) in that the vowel quality of each letter is left unspecified, and must be inferred from context and grammar.
Coined by Peter T. Daniels from the first four letters of the Arabic alphabet, a-b-j-d: أبجد (ʾábjad). Compare Greek α,β,γ,δ...