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the day of resurrection


the paraphernalia of a bride, vestments and furniture of every kind which a bride brings to her husband's house; bride's portion, a dowry

KHudaa ganje ko naaKHun na de

a great fortune in the hands of a fool is a great misfortune

qaazii jii ke ghar ke chuuhe bhii sayaane

even the servant of a wise man is not a fool


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till death, till the last gasp


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place of sacred ablution performed before prayer, a place for ablution, washing face, hands and leg before the Islamic prayers


decoration, ornamentation, adornment, arrangement kaa kaaTaa rassii se Dartaa hai

one who has been bitten by a snake dreads a piece of rope, once bitten twice shy

qadam uThaanaa

step forward, go ahead (with), take a measure, to walk quickly, to take a quick step


adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, shout to call, Muslim summon to prayers (usually chanted from the turret of a mosque)


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a caste whose business is to sell betel-leaf


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Home / Blog / Tayyar: The Word you weren’t Prepared For

Tayyar: The Word you weren’t Prepared For

by Rajat Kumar 28 October 2021 2 min Read

Tayyar: The Word you weren’t Prepared For

Few words have undergone an overhaul like the one we’re about to discuss in this blog. With time and use, both its form and meaning have seen a nearly unrecognizable change, but what is it that makes this word special? Let’s find out!

In Urdu, as we know, Tayyar means ‘to be ready or prepared, to be available, be bent upon doing something’. But these are far away from the word’s original, or at least intended set of meanings.

In Persian, Tayyar تيار means ‘quick-paced, leaping, (like waves) surgy’. 

These unfamiliar meanings in Persian are a result of another Tayyar, its Arabic twin, wherein it means the ocean-waves.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “How on Earth did the word come to mean in the way we know it today?”

The answer to it lies in the Arabic word ‘Tair’ طیر which means ‘flying; a bird’, and gives us the Arabic Tayyar (طيار), a term specific to the vocation of hunting. This Tayyar is used when a hunting-bird, like a falcon, is about to snatch its prey. Exactly at that moment, the phrase ‘Parinda Tayyar Hai’ is used with respect to the “bent-upon-hunting bird of prey”.

The above phrase ‘bent-upon-hunting’ is queer, but I use it to depict the word’s congruity with readiness or preparedness, the meanings that are of our interest.

The gist of it is we ought to be using the latter Tayyar, this one ( طيار), for getting ready, or else we aren’t quite up to it.


Because, the word was created to express a function of hunting, and was not even supposed to be used for humans, then around the start of the 19th century, as Arabic and Persian lost touch with India, Urdu-speakers started writing it as the former ‘Tayyar’, and here we are today, preparing birds out of waves!

It’s a difficult sell, I know, but the word serves a quick reminder why learning the script is so important, otherwise what will happen is that we’ll write ‘Red’, meaning ‘Green’, and take it for the color ‘Grey’.

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