It is characteristic of medieval terminology not to be specific to one analytical level, thus, for example, ḥarf ‘particle’ can refer to anything from phonemes to paragraphs. The word fāʿil is no exception. It is discussed here on four levels.
1. Lexically, fāʿil means ‘doer, person doing’. An obscene metaphor, doubtless coined by a grammarian, pairs it with another technical term, mafʿūl bihi ‘done to’, viz. ‘direct object’, for the active and passive members of a homosexual relationship.
2. At the morphological level, fāʿil has three applications:
(a) Fāʿil stands for any word in…