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laachaar

helpless, destitute, having no remedy, powerless

tavaazun

balance

tuumaar

long story

'aalii

elevated, eminent, exalted, grand, noble, sublime, lofty, high, honorable, respected, venerable

munsif-mizaaj

temperament of justice, fair-minded, lover of justice, just-minded, just in temperament, (a person) of propriety or taste

minan

humble and earnest supplications, entreaties, obligations, favours

poshiida

concealed, hidden, secret, covered, veiled

furqat

separation (of lovers), absence (of a beloved person or friend)

Gaazii

one who fights against infidels

fard-e-jurm

charge sheet, indictment, calendar of crime

hijrat

migration, leaving of country and friends

maarg

mirgii kaa daura

epileptic seizure/ fit

chaubaaraa

top room of a house with windows on all four sides, topmost storey of a house

saraab

a vapour resembling the sea at a distance (formed by the rays of the sun or moonlight on a sandy plain)

harfii

literal, relating to letters

maa'zarat

excuse, apology, plea

naa.ib-qaasid

muKHtasar

short, succinct, abbreviated, abridged, concise

bezaar

sick of, displeased, tired of, weary, vexed, disgusted, apathetic, out of humour

gardan par chhurii phernaa

sang-e-maahii

the genus of aquatic animal whose back is hard like stone

musalsal

'ahd-e-vafaa

fulfill the promise

tark-e-duniyaa

abandoning worldly pleasures, becoming hermit

saffaak

a great shedder of blood, a cruel man, a butcher, tyrant

subuk-KHiraam

fast walker, fast runner, fast speed

me'yaar

an assay-balance, a touchstone

khisyaanii billii khambaa noche

an embarrassed or ashamed person tends to vent his/her feeling by quarrelling

shariik-e-hayaat

life partner, wife or husband mostly used for wife

lams

sense of touch, tactile sense

iKHtiyaar

jurisdiction, management, rule, sway

chaukaa cha.Dhaanaa

fixing dentures, fixing artificial teeth

gardish

faash

apparent, revealed, divulged, known, manifest, obvious

du'aa mustajaab honaa

mustajaab

qurbat

tifl-e-maktab

a school boy, inexperienced

yaum-e-vilaadat

birthday

az-sar-e-nau

anew, afresh, over again

kam-zarf

poor-spirited, Shallow, of little capacity, stupid, silly, witless

ruu-posh

hiding the face

zuud-pashemaan

repenting too soon, one who repents soon

dastaras

range of authority or control, within (one's) reach or power; to be reached with the hand, come to hand, able, approach, access, command, control

polaj

land sown every year

shiddat

abundance (of thirst, tears or lamentation, etc.)

musht-e-KHaak

(Literary) handful of dust, human being, man

aziyyat

wanton injury, molestation, annoyance, oppression

sinf

genre, sex, gender, species

faasiq

sinner, transgressor, adulterer, fornicator, rake, impious, vicious, scoundrel

'ohde

commission, office, post

munaafiq

hypocritical, a hypocrite, dissembler

mutma.in

In a state of rest, or ease, or quiet, enjoying repose and ease, still, quiet, tranquil, content, safe, secure

Urdu

Rekhta, Hindawi

sinf-e-suKHan

genre of poetry, form of poetry

aahan

iron, steel

jaan-e-man

(Literary) my life, my dear, darling

matlab

mean, sense, meaning, motive, aim, object, concern, purpose, wish, desire, selfishness, question, petition

'ahd

time, season, epoch, age

Gizaa-e-saqiil

heavy or hard to digest food

Garq

drowning, sinking, immersion

ham-'ahd

contemporary, coeval

'ahd-e-hukuumat

period of reign, period of rule

'ahd-e-nau

modern or present age

tajdiid

renewal, revival, novelty, renovation

KHud-saaKHta

home-made, self-appointed, self-styled

qanaa'at

contentment, satisfaction, tranquility, abstinence, ability to do without

Gair-muhazzab

uncivilized, uncultured

raqs

dance, dancing

'umr-e-daraaz

long-life, may (your) life (be) long

tazliil

humiliation, abasement, indignity, disgrace, degradation

qaul-e-faisal

ultimate judgement, statement that settles an issue

zulf-e-daraaz

long tresses, long locks

sarzanish

reprimand, chiding, dressing down, reproof, rebuke, reprehension

saqaafat

customs and beliefs of a specific country or group, culture

'avaamunnaas

public, common people, populace at large

aa.iin

constitution, law, code, enactment, regulation, statute, set rules or laws

zinaa-bil-jabr

rape, ravishment

e'timaad

confidence, faith, trust, reliance, dependence

e'tibaar

confidence, trust, belief, faith, reliability, credibility

baad-e-sabaa

morning breeze, the zephyr, a refreshing wind

rashk

the process of copying something achieved by someone else and trying to do it as well as they have, effort to match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation, emulation

'alaamat-e-buluuG

sign of puberty, signs of being young

qaumii-salaamatii

national security, the safety of a nation, or actions taken to protect it

ziist

life, existence

'azm-e-safar

determination to travel

raqiib

a watcher, guardian

alfaaz

words, articulate sounds, terms

qillat

littleness, smallness; fewness, paucity, deficiency, scarcity, insufficiency

amvaat

deaths

taGaaful

feigned negligence, intentional connivance

firaaq

separation, disunion, abandonment

bad-nasiib

unfortunate, unlucky

'aduu

enemy, foe, oppositionist , opponent,

anjum

stars

'adl

justice, fairness, equity, rectitude

chilman

a hanging screen made of reeds or spilt bamboo for obstructing view, curtain, a venetian blind

difaa'

defence, repulsion

ulfat

love, affection, friendship, intimacy, familiarity, attachment, kindness

ranjish

indignation, grief, unpleasantness (between persons)

samaa'at

hearing, listening, (of a lawsuit)

dil-aazaarii

heart afflicting, torment of the heart, vexation of spirit, anxiety, trouble

tauhiin-e-'adaalat

contempt of court

mansuuba

plan, design, scheme, project

'adaavat

hostility, malice, enmity, animosity, hate, hatred, resentment, vindictiveness, malice, feud

'azm

determination, resolution, intention, fixed purpose, bent, aim, undertaking

shab

night, night time

aaftaab

sun

Home / Blog / 5 Contronyms of Urdu that you barely knew existed!

5 Contronyms of Urdu that you barely knew existed!

by Rajat Kumar 06 December 2021 3 min Read

5 Contronyms of Urdu that you barely knew existed!

Just like humans, words, too, can sometimes behave contradictorily. Thankfully, we have a term for those words that have this strange linguistic condition – Contronyms, or Janus words.

In Roman mythology, Janus is considered the God of duality, and to mark this distinct quality he is depicted as two-faced; one looking forwards, the other backwards. And that’s how contronyms got their second name, Janus words, as their meanings face oppositely.

The English language is brimful of these words. Take sanction, it can mean to be both an approval to do something, and a curb upon an action indicating disapproval. Or, the verb ‘to trip’, which can mean to travel around while also meaning to fall or stumble, as in, ‘he tripped right there’ and, many other words.

In Urdu poetry, too, we come across many such words where poets skillfully camouflage one meaning for the other. But this play on words and meanings goes well beyond the confines of poetry; our everyday words like bahut, kam, thoda, aur, haan, nahin, kal, achhaa, bura all can qualify as contronyms. 

Today, however, we’ve dived deep into the Rekhta Dictionary and piggybacked for you 5 known-unknown words that’ll both charm and surprise you, creating a Janus Effect; if that’s what they call it.

1. Maula

That’s one word we’ve all heard of. We know it means Lord, God, the Supreme, right?

Right. But what we barely know is that Maula also means a slave, a servant. 

Theologically, it means a slave that has been set free or released. For more on released slaves, don’t forget to read our piece on the word Tahrir. Just more food for thought.

2. Avezish

Dast-Aavez is a word we’ve been hearing for ages. It comes out in the sense of a document, although it literally means ‘something held or suspended in one’s hand’.

Avez in Persian means suspended, or laTkaa hua. Thus, Avezish means ‘to hold something’; but here comes the twist – it can mean both ‘to hold’ and ‘to hold-off’.

Therefore, Avezish means both affection (to hold tight), and enmity (to hold-off).

There you go, a word that fits in perfectly for all the double-faced ones around!

3. Wa’da

This is an easy one, Wa’da means promise, that’s it, no two ways about it, right?

Wrong.

Yes, it does mean a vow to keep one’s word sometime in the future, but this is where Janus’ other face comes in. Wa’da also means a threat, a warning – something like, ‘tu baahar miliyo.

Now is a good time to think whether you want the Wa’da to be fulfilled or not.

4. Qist

Qist basically stands for justly divided portions, parts or measures. But as with other words on this list, Qist, too, can bite us in the behind.

Qist essentially means ‘being unjust’, or Naa-insaafii, as we call it. Additionally, it also means scattering, dispersing (bikhernaa).

To sum up, it’s just unjustness resulting in justness. Let that sink in.

5. Lahn 

Urdu poetry lovers must recognize this word, it means ‘reciting something with a tuneful pronunciation’.

That’s some definition! In short, it means a sweet-sounding musical tone, or ‘dhun mein bolnaa’.

But besides this ‘sweet-sounding’ meaning, there exists this word’s disturbing side. Lahn also means an error in pronunciation, or slipping up on a word.

So, it’s like hitting the right notes, but singing the wrong words!

Something that’s happened with the word Qist, for it is what we nowadays wrongly pronounce as kisht - an installment, or EMI.

This list can go on and on, still I’d say ‘bahut hai’.

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