or jin·nee also djin·ni (jĭn′ē, jĭ-nē′)
In the Koran and Muslim tradition, a spirit often capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people.
Usage Note: According to the Koran, humans share this world with another race of mortal beings, the jinn, that God created from pure, smokeless fire and endowed with supernatural powers. In Arabic, the noun jinn designates these beings as a group. An adjective jinnī, “belonging to the jinn,” can be made from jinn by the addition of the suffix -ī. Jinnī can then itself be used as a noun with the sense “one belonging to the jinn, a jinni.” In this way, the usual word for a single male member of the jinn is jinnī, while a single female is called a jinnīya, using the feminine form of jinnī. (This way of making singulars from nouns denoting groups is common in Arabic—the noun ‘arab means “the Arabs, the Arab people,” and its derivative ‘arabī means “Arabic” and “an Arab.”) Following Arabic usage, some writers in English use the English noun jinn only as a plural, to designate the group: These jinn are kindly, while those jinn are malevolent. The English noun jinni then fills the role of a singular for this noun: He met a kindly jinni in the desert. However, other writers in English take jinn as a singular noun designating a single member of the jinn race: He met a kindly jinn in the desert. These writers may then use the uninflected plural jinn, as in These jinn are kindly, and some even use a regularly formed English plural jinns, as in Those jinns are harmful.
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(dʒɪˈni, ˈdʒɪn i)
n., pl. jinns also jin•nis, (esp. collectively) jinn also jin•ni.
(in Islamic myth) any of a class of spirits, lower than the angels, capable of appearing in human and animal forms and influencing humankind.
[1675–85; pl. of Arabic jinnī demon]
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
An Arab name for a spirit.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited