Root Exploration: ع-ر-ق


root: ز-م-ن / noun / plural: أَزمان / definition: stretch of time

It’s been a long time since our last post in the Root Exploration series. (In all honesty, though, it hasn’t felt long at all to me since I explore roots in the dictionary every day!)

I’ve had a few roots written down in my notes that I’d like to explore in this series but today I sat here—glasses on, laptop on desk, sweet sunshine outside the window to my right—and typed three letters into my Hans Wehr app: ع-ر-ق.

No, I didn’t choose this root because of today’s summer heat (see عَرَق below!), but due to the fact I’m surfing the latest wave of my Iraqi dialect obsession.

Anything to do with Iraq and language, I’m loving—so let’s take it back to the root of العراق itself.


Form I

الفعل / verb:

عَرِقَ / يَعرَقُ = to sweat, perspire

المصدر / verbal noun:

عَرَق = sweat, arrack (a type of alcoholic drink)


  • عَرَق القِربة = pains, toil, exertion (literally: “perspiration of the waterskin”)


عِرق / عُروق = root, stem, vein, descent, race


  • طِيب العِرق = noble descent
  • طَيِّب العِرق = of noble descent
  • العِرق دَسّاس = blood will tell (a proverb meaning that someone will eventually show themselves to be like their family/ancestors, literally: “descent is a conspirator”)
  • ضَرَبَ فيه بِعِرق = to have a share or participate in something
  • عِرق الذَّهَب = ipecacuanha (a plant whose roots have twisted sections that look like rings)
  • عِرق السُّوس = licorice root
  • عِرق النَّسا = sciatica

عَرَقة = transom between two layers of stone or brick

(Yes, I had to look up “transom”—it’s a horizontal beam, apparently.)

عَرَاقة = deep-rootedness, ancient character or lineage


  • عَراقة في النَّسَب = noble descent

عَرَقيّة أو عَرّاقيّة = white cotton skullcap (Egyptian dialect)

Note how both of these are abstract noun forms, originally derived from عَرَق (a regular noun) and عَرّاق (the emphatic form of the active participle, عارِق). You can find out a bit more about abstract noun forms in this post.

العِراق = Iraq

The dictionary notes that this word can be either masculine or—less commonly—feminine. It also mentions that the dual form, العِراقان, refers to Basra and Kufa, two major cities in Iraq.

adjective forms:

عَريق = deep-rooted


  • عَريق في القِدَم = ancient, centuries-old
  • عَريق في التّاريخ = reaching far back in history
  • تاريخ عَريق = a rich history
  • مِن عائِلة عَريقة = from an old, respectable family
  • عَريق النَّسَب = of noble descent

عِراقي / ـون = Iraqi

This is a nisba adjective derived from العراق and can also be used as a noun.


  • الجُمهوريّة العِراقيّة (الدّيمُقراطيّة الشَّعبيّة) = the (People’s Democratic) Republic of Iraq

passive participle / اسم المفعول:

مَعروق = gaunt, emaciated, lean

superlative/comparative form:

أَعرَق = more deep-rooted

Form II

الفعل / verb:

عَرَّقَ / يُعَرِّقُ = to make or let someone sweat, to add water or dilute something, to take root, be deeply rooted, to vein, marble

active participle / اسم الفاعل:

مُعَرِّق = sudorific, causes perspiration

passive participle / اسم المفعول:

مُعَرَّق = veined, striated

Form IV

الفعل / verb:

أَعرَقَ / يُعرِقُ = to take root, strike roots

active participle / اسم الفاعل:

مُعرِق = firmly rooted, ancient and noble


  • مُعرِق في القِدَم = very old, ancient, centuries-old

Form V

الفعل / verb:

تَعَرَّقَ / يَتَعَرَّقُ = to take root, strike roots (same meanings as form IV)

Just look at how Iraq is linguistically linked to a deep-rooted identity and noble lineage!

It’s things like this that demonstrate how important dictionary exploration can be in forming these connections for us as learners.

There’s lots more exploration you can do on The Arabic Pages too; why don’t you start off by checking out my recent posts like Arabic Observations: Compound Quadriliteral Arabic Verbs and Different Ways to Say “During” in Arabic?

And—if you’d like to support the regular content I produce here and access exclusive monthly posts—do consider becoming a member!

Bye for now, مع السلامة!

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