BAYĀN, a noun common to Arabic and Persian meaning “statement,” “exposition,” “explanation.” From an early date onward, it also encompassed the various arts of expression in speech and writing. As a critical term, bayān refers especially to clarity of expression (ḥosn-e bayān); this quality was reckoned among the essential characteristics of eloquence. In time, bayān became more or less synonymous with balāḡa and faṣāḥa. Often ʿelm-e bayān merely denotes rhetoric as a whole.