Arabic Observations: Root Derived From Phrase

جَذْر

root: ج-ذ-ر / noun / plural: جُذور / definition: root


Flick through to page 1016 of the Hans Wehr dictionary (4th ed.) and you’ll find something really intriguing.

There’s a root there, on the right-hand side of the page, that looks like this:

It tells us that the root ل-ش-ي is derived from لا شيء. To break this down:

لا means “no”/”not”

شَيء means “thing”

لا شيء means “nothing”

So the root above is derived from the 1st, 3rd, and 4th letters (ش, ل, and ي) of the phrase meaning “nothing”.

Now here comes the interesting bit—look at the definitions under the root ل-ش-ي:

All the definitions are centred around the phrase that the root is derived from:

The form III verb, لاشى/يُلاشي, essentially means “to turn something into nothing”, and the form VI verb, تلاشى/يتلاشى, means “to become nothing”.

And then of course you have the verbal nouns of both forms underneath that, مُلاشاة from form III and تلاشٍ from form VI, carrying meanings corresponding with their verbal forms.

At the bottom, there’s also an adjective derived from form VI of the root, مُتَلاشٍ which carries the meaning of “coming to nothing” and other associated descriptions as you can see above.

Isn’t it amazing how a common phrase from two words was adapted into a single root from which verbs, nouns, and adjectives came about?

I’ve seen something similar where some roots have been derived from specific (often borrowed) nouns; for example: the root ء-ك-س-د derives from the borrowed word “اكسيد” meaning “oxide”. So, to illustrate, form II of that root (تَأَكسَدَ) means “to oxidise/rust”.

I’m really curious as to whether there are more roots that are derived from phrases—do you know any?

See you on my next post!

!مع السلامة


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