The four possible definitions given were all recorded by Al-Tabari, but most have no supported etymology. Early commentator Abd Allah ibn Abbas claimed that the "lion" definition was from an Ethiopian language. If he was conflating Ethiopia with the extreme southern end of Arabia, this would support a borrowing from a South Arabian language; compare Hobyót ḳaṣ̂áwrət, the plural of ḳáyṣ̂ər (“lion”).
قَسْوَرَة • (qaswara) f
- (Qur'anic hapax legomenon) The meaning of this term is uncertain. Possibilities include: lion, hunters, archers, group of men
كَأَنَّهُمْ حُمُرٌ مُّسْتَنْفِرَةٌ / فَرَّتْ مِنْ قَسْوَرَةٍ
- kaʾannahum ḥumurun mmustanfiratun / farrat min qaswaratin
- As if they were frightened donkeys / Fleeing from a lion
- Modern translations and interpretations almost universally translate this word as “lion”.