An Arab ( Arabic) is a person who identifies as such on genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds. The plural form, Arabs, refers to the ethnic group at large.

Though the Arabic language pre-dates the Common Era, Arabic culture was first spread in the Middle East beginning in the 2nd century as ethnically Arab Christians began migrating into the Northern Arabian desert. The Arabic language gained greater prominence with the rise of Islam in the 7th century AD as the language of the Qur'an, and Arabic language and culture were more widely disseminated as a result of early Islamic expansion.

In the modern era, defining who is an Arab is done on the grounds of one or more of the following three criteria:

Genealogical : someone who can trace his or her ancestry to the tribes of Arabia - the original inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula - and the Syrian Desert. This definition covers fewer self-identified Arabs than not, and was the definition used in medieval times.

Linguistic: someone whose first language, and by extension cultural expression, is Arabic, including any of its varieties. This definition covers more than 250 million people.

Political: in the modern nationalist era, any person who is a citizen of a country where Arabic is either the national language or one of the official languages, or a citizen of a country which may simply be a member of the Arab League and thus having Arabic as an official government language, even if not used by the majority of the population. This definition would cover over 300 million people. It may be the most contested definition as it is the most simplistic one. It would exclude the entire Arab diaspora, but include not only those genealogically Arabs ( Gulf Arabs and others, such as Bedouins, where they may exist) and those Arabized-Arab-identified, but also include Arabized non-Arab-identified groups

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