Freshwater Fishes of Iran

Glossaries - Geographical Glossary

Revised:  10 October 2007

Ichthyological Glossary

The following glossary of geographical and other terms is mostly in Farsi (which includes words taken from Turkic, Kurdish and Arabic) with a few Russian words, all of which appear on maps, in the literature and in the text of the "Freshwater Fishes of Iran" web site. They may be of help to those unfamiliar with these languages and avoid tautologies such as Safidrud River.

There are various diacritical marking systems for Farsi but these do not always transfer accurately across platforms, appearing as strange symbols or gaps in text. I have eschewed the use of these as being irrelevant for native speakers of Farsi and too confusing for those unfamiliar with this language.

ab = water, intermittent stream, stream, spring, lake, well

ab-bandan = shallow, freshwater reservoir on the Caspian plain used for duck hunting in winter and water storage for irrigation in the dry summer

abad = a suffix indicating an inhabited place

ab-e garm = hot spring

ab ambar = cistern

ab anbar = cistern

abshur rud = salt river, common name of salty rivers

anbar = tank

ateshkade = fire-temple (archaeological feature)

av = stream

`ayn = spring

bagh = garden

bahr = sea

Bahr-e Khazar = Caspian Sea

baksh= municipality

band = dam, reservoir, lake, mountain range (old dams for water storage - see sadd for modern dams)

bandar = port, harbour, anchorage, bay

bankari = constructing temporary weirs for water diversion

bar andaz = halting place

barm = marsh, lake, pond

batlaq = marsh, swamp

berkeh = tank, pool, cistern

biaban = desert (also the name of the coastal plain south of the Minab River to the cape of Ra's al-Kuh in Hormozgan Province)

birkat = pool, well, marsh, lake

borj = fort, tower

botlaq = marsh, swamp

caviar = sturgeon eggs as food

çay = stream

centner = 100 kg (used in Russian texts as a measure of commercial catches; sometimes given as 50 kg elsewhere but internal evidence in Russian papers indicates 100 kg is correct)

chah = well, spring, cistern

chai = stream

cham = stream, gorge

chashmeh = spring, well

chay = stream

cheng = hill, mountain, promontory

cheshmeh = spring, well

dag = mountain

dagh = mountain

dahaneh = section of a stream, gorge, pass, defile, water gap

damagheh = cape, promontory

damgah = an artificial, freshwater wetland, maintained primarily as a duck-hunting area but also used for irrigation during the dry summer months

daqq = salt flat, salt depression, salt waste, marsh, intermittent salt lake

darband = gorge or pass

darreh = stream, valley, gorge, ravine

darya = sea, stream, intermittent stream, channel

daryacheh = lake, marshy lake, stream

Darya-ye Mazandaran = Caspian Sea

dasht = plain, desert, steppe, depression, upland, open country, field; usually dry desert with a firm base of pebbles or silts

deh = village

dehkadeh = village

dez = fortress

echbel = eggs of fishes other than sturgeons as food

emamzadeh = tomb, shrine

eskeleh = jetty

estakhr = pool

gadik, gaduk = pass

galal = stream

gardan, gardaneh = pass

godar = pass

garmsir = hot country, winter quarters in the lowlands

ghadamgah = a religious site; usually no fishing allowed.

gharb(i) = west(ern), as in the province Azarbayjan-e Gharbi)

godar = pass

göl = lake, marsh, swamp

gölü = lake, marsh, swamp

gowd = depression

hammam = bath

hamun = marshy lake, salt waste

hawr = marsh, lake

hesar = fort, castle

hor = marsh

howr = marsh

howz = tank, cistern, pond, pool, lake, reservoir, spring

il'men = a shallow, flood-plain lake heavily overgrown with reeds and rushes (Russian)

ishan = hill

istgah = railway station

jabal = hill, mountain

jangal = forest

jar = stream

jazirat = island

jazireh = island

jebal = hill, mountain

jehil = lake

jolgeh = plain

jonub(i) = south(ern)

ju = stream, irrigation channel

jub, jube = irrigation channel, watercourse, gutter, ditch

juy = stream, watercourse

kal = stream, intermittent stream

kalleh = peak

kamar = hill, mountain, ridge

kani = well

karavansara = caravansary

karez = underground irrigation channel

kaur = stream

kavir = salt waste, salt desert, marsh; usually a salt crust over silt deposits which can be fatal mires of slimy mud (= playa)

khalij = bay, gulf

Khalij-e Fars = Persian Gulf

kharabeh = ruins

khirr = stream

khowr = inlet, stream, channel, bay, bight, tidal creek, estuary

khwar = stream

kizil ala = brown trout (see also qezelala)

kotal = mountain pass

kowr = stream

kuh = mountain, range, hill, peak, ridge, spur

kuhha = mountains, range, hills

liman = a brackish bay of the sea, usually at a river mouth, sometimes cut off from the sea but still brackish; also an estuary (Russian, mordab in Farsi)

lut = desert

mahur = hill

mandah = stream

markazi = central, as in Markazi Province

masjed = mosque

mordab = lagoon, backwater, creek, swamp, stagnant water (literally dead water, now replaced by talab)

nahr = river, stream, canal, docking basin

naizar = reed swamp (Sistan)

namak = salt; usually a salt lake with open water or a salt crust but without much mud

namaksar = salt waste

naveh = stream

nawah = stream

nehri = stream

neizar = reed swamp in Sistan

ostan = province, governorate-general

ozero = lake

pal = hill, mountain

paskuh = mountain range

pereval = pass

poshteh = hill, mountain

qabr = tomb

qabrestan = cemetery

qal'at = fort

qal'eh = fortress

qanat = underground irrigation channel; an adit shaft

qasr = fort

qolleh = hill, mountain, peak

ramlat = sandy area

ra's = cape, point, promontory

reka = river

reshteh = mountain, mountain range, hill, spur

reshteh kuh = mountain range

rig = sand area, dunes

riz ab = stream

roga = outflow (in the Enzeli or Anzali Mordab)

rud = river, stream, intermittent stream

rudbar = valley drained by a river with flowing water; place watered by many streams

rudkhaneh = river, river bed, watercourse, intermittent stream

rusta = village, inhabited place

sabkhat = salt marsh, lake

sadd = dam, reservoir (used for modern dams)

saddi qanat = a qanat drawing water from a dam

sahel = coast, beach, shore

sar = cape

sarab = spring (in western Iran), literally "beginning water"

saray = caravansaray

sardsir = cold country, summer quarters in the highlands

sarhadd = frontier

sazhen = a marine sazhen equals 1.83 m (Russian)

selseleh = mountain range, mountains

shahr = town, city

shahrdari = municipality

shahrestan = district

shahzadeh = shrine

shamal(i) = north(ern)

sharq(i) = east(ern), as in the province Azarbayjan-e Sharqi

shatt = large river, bank of a river, stream

saydgah = fishing station, as along the Caspian coast

shebh-e jazireh = peninsula

shekasteh = hill, mountain

shil = a wooden barrier erected across a river for catching fish; hence shilat (in Gilaki, the Persian dialect of Gilan)

shilat = fisheries company; Sherkat Shilat = Northern Fisheries Company concerned with the Caspian Sea; Shilat Jonub = Southern Fisheries Company concerned with the Persian Gulf

shur = salt, brackish, stream

shurab = salt water

shurehzar = salt stream, salt marsh

su = water, stream

suyu = stream

talab = more modern version of mordab.

tall = hill, mountain, spur

tang = pass

tangeh = valley

tappeh = hill, mountain, mound

tell = hill

tepe = hill, mound

vareh = a small dam

vilayet = province

ziarat = shrine


©Brian W. Coad (