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KHair-andesh

thinking well, well wisher

duudh-shariik bahan

foster sister

risaa.ii

related to grief and death, elegiac

zarf

vessel, vase, receptacle

tihaa.ii

one third, one-third part

laa'nat

curse, anathema, imprecation, reproach, reproof, rebuke

qahr Dhaanaa

to be wrathful, to rage

mazduur

a hired labourer, worker

chale na jaa.e aa.ngan Te.Dhaa

a bad workman blames his tools

aage naath na piichhe pagaa

heirless, lone, lone wolf

saahir

magician, sorcerer, wizard, conjuror

ku.Dmaa.ii

the celebration of of an engagement, betrothal, engagement

nazar-bhar dekhnaa

to look carefully

KHvaaja-e-taash

slaves of the same master in relation to one another, slave colleagues

maiyaa

kindness, mercy

qafas

cage for birds

husn-e-talab

a decent way of desiring, nice way of asking

basar

living, livelihood, course of life

basar-auqaat

state of just living a life (esp. with mediocre means), whiling away one's time means of livelihood, passing (one's) time, occupation, employment, subsistence, livelihood, means of living

muntashir

spread, wide-spread, dispersed, diffused, diffuse

Home / Blog / Word Builders: ‘Be’-ing Made Within The Realm Of Without

Word Builders: ‘Be’-ing Made Within The Realm Of Without

by Atifa Haroon 19 October 2023 3 min Read

Word Builders: ‘Be’-ing Made Within The Realm Of Without

Greetings, dear word enthusiasts!

Last time, we delved into crafting words with the 'ba-' prefix (which means 'with'). Today, we flip the coin to explore its counterpart, the 'be-' prefix.

The unassuming 'be-' might seem small, but it sure knows how to make an impact. It's like a magic wand that, when added to words, transforms them into saying "without." In simpler terms, it shows that something is there, but it's missing something else.

The cool thing is that 'be-' can be a prefix, and it can also sneak into words as an infix, creating new words with that same "something's missing" vibe.

It might seem a tad tricky at first, but don't worry. We're here to make it all crystal clear with plenty of examples along the way.

Let's begin with a common word that gets the 'be-' treatment in Urdu literature: "be-vafaa." You've probably encountered it often. The word "vafaa" means loyalty, and it's an abstract noun by itself. But, when you add that little 'be-' in front, it turns into "be-vafaa," transforming into an adjective, meaning someone who's unfaithful or disloyal. It's like a quick change in the word's loyalty status!

Ahmad Faraz uses the term in a very popular couplet from his collection, advising his beloved to consider separation from one another before they become unfaithful: 

is se pahle ki be-vafaa ho jaa.e.n
kyuu.n na ai dost ham judaa ho jaa.e.n

Up next, we have "be-muravvat" which is an adjective used for people who can be quite tough to deal with. While "muravvat" usually carries connotations of respect, regard, and consideration, adding the 'be-' prefix flips the script, taking those qualities off the table. So, when you cross paths with someone who could use an extra dollop of empathy, "be-muravvat" becomes your go-to term for a subtle yet descriptive touch.

Now, let's explore "be-raah". It is a term that paints the picture of someone as the 'lost wayfarer' in the grand journey of life. Often used with a tinge of disapproval, this term suggests that someone has strayed from the conventional path, often within the realms of religion or culture. 

Then there’s the fearless ‘bebaak’, showing all its vigour and might. bebaak literally translates to someone who is fearless and brave. It is also often used to describe someone who is blunt in their manners and approach, not really concerned about what other may think of them. 

A perfect homophone for bebaak is be-baaq, and this one has an ironical twist to it as well. So far, we’ve seen words paired with be- to denote the meaning of ‘without’, but be-baaq actually means complete, or something that has been paid up in full. You can also associate the meanings of fulness, entirety and evenness with be-baaq. Interestingly twisted in its entirety, right? We told you this was going to be a fun adventure!

And with that dear readers, we pull the curtains on the many charms that the tiny yet mighty be- has. But you stick around, because we have a lot more wordplay wonders coming up real soon, aap bilkul be-fikr rahein! 

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