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thinking well, well wisher

duudh-shariik bahan

foster sister


related to grief and death, elegiac


vessel, vase, receptacle


one third, one-third part


curse, anathema, imprecation, reproach, reproof, rebuke

qahr Dhaanaa

to be wrathful, to rage


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


magician, sorcerer, wizard, conjuror


the celebration of of an engagement, betrothal, engagement

nazar-bhar dekhnaa

to look carefully


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


kindness, mercy


cage for birds


a decent way of desiring, nice way of asking


living, livelihood, course of life


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


spread, wide-spread, dispersed, diffused, diffuse

Home / Blog / Word Builders: Expanding Vocabulary With ba-

Word Builders: Expanding Vocabulary With ba-

by Atifa Haroon 08 May 2023 3 min Read

Word Builders: Expanding Vocabulary With ba-

Hey there, word wizards! I think we’ll all approve to the notion that a good companion enroute a long journey or during a taxing task is what everyone really needs to get through. 

And much like us are the words that we use. It is what accompanies a word that defines how much depth it carries and how positive or negative its connotations are.

To understand this very concept of company within Urdu linguistic morphology, the prefix to accompany us in our discussion today is baa-.

baa- (با), also written as ba- (بَ) in its most basic sense, is used to denote the state of being with or accompanied by (something or someone) However, it can also be used to signify directions, connections, correspondence etc.

To get a better understanding of how baa- can be use in various contexts, take a look at the words we have detailed for you.

tamiiz is an Arabic word which literally means respect, good manners or the observance of good manners and etiquettes in an act. When ba- is added as a prefix to tamiiz, it simply signifies that something is being said or done with respect. 

So, "ba.Do.n se baa-tamiiz baat kijiye" will mean "talk to your elders with respect," while "woh hum se baa-tamiiz pesh aaye" means "they treated us with respect." 

If you know a Muslim fellow, chances are that you might’ve heard them saying ‘ruu-ba-Qiblah’ when they are about to begin their prayers. Here, ba- is used as an infix to indicate the position towards the Qiblah, which is the direction Muslims face when praying.

In the term 'KHud-ba-KHud', this tiny addition plays a crucial role in conveying meaning. This one's a bit tricky, but bear with me. 

By connecting the word "KHud" (self) with itself, ba- denotes a connection of the self, with the self. So, KHud-ba-Khud literally means of or by itself, and can also refer to something happening automatically or on its own. 

Having roots in Arabic, the term vujuud literally means existence or being. But instead of meaning ‘with existence, or existing’ with the addition of baa-, the meaning takes a completely ironical form. The combination of baa- with vujuud means in spite of, or despite (of something, that may be present or proven). 

Another interesting meaning that baa- possesses is that of positive assertion. vafaa, as you might know, means loyalty or sincerity. And when baa- is added to it, it becomes an adjective, describing someone as a loyal person. 

A lot many people tend to get confused when they come across the term baa-vafaa, owing to the vast popularity of its antonym, be-vafaa, which has been extensively used in Urdu poetry. be-vafaa means faithless or disloyal, since the prefix be- means ‘without’. 

Take a look at this couplet by Jamil Malik, who has used both these terms:

ham se koī ta.alluq-e-ḳhātir to hai use
vo yaar bā-vafā na sahī bevafā to hai

If you were already satiated with the meanings that the two (or three) lettered baa- can potentially have, you will have to make space for some more.

The term baa-KHudaa means ‘swear on God’, or ‘by God’ and is commonly used in conversations to intensify one’s argument or stance. People generally use this term to assert genuineness. For e.g. 'baa-KHudaa mai.n ne ye baat kisi ko nahii.n bataa.ii' would mean 'I swear by God, I didn't tell a soul about this event!' 

So dear readers, wouldn't you agree that discovering the multitude of meanings packed into a small prefix (or infix) like "baa-" is truly a linguistic marvel? And if you thought this is all there is to "baa-", then hold on tight, because baa-KHudaa, there is a long way yet to go. Until then, keep visiting this space and keep learning. Naya blog KHud-ba-KHud jald hi aayega!

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