Four Arabic Verbs Meaning “to Listen”


root: ء-ذ-ن / noun / plural: آذان / definition: ear

A few months ago, we took a look at a plethora of Arabic words that all mean “to look at”. Now, we’re adding to the synonyms series by exploring another common verb related to one of the senses: “to listen“!

These synonym posts aren’t all-encompassing (my Arabic keyboard stickers would probably start to fade if I typed out every synonymous term), but here are four Arabic verbs we can use to mean “to listen”:

اِستَمَعَ / يَستَمِعُ / الاِستِماع

root: س-م-ع

form VIII

أَنصَتَ / يُنصِتُ / الإنصات

root: ن-ص-ت

form IV

أَصغى / يُصغي / الإصغاء

root: ص-غ-و

form IV

أَصاخَ / يُصيخُ / الإصاخة

root: ص-و-خ

form IV

Notice that three of these four synonyms are form IV verbs that include a ص in their root—I’ve observed a similar phenomenon before where sets of synonyms (happen to?) share a root letter (or is there a reason behind it?).

(It’s a shame no examples are coming to mind now though *sigh*… but you can check out these two Arabic Observations posts if you’re interested in the links between root and meaning!)

And from the roots mentioned above, we also get the following two verbs:

  • تَسَمَّعَ / يَتَسَمَّعُ / التَّسَمُّع—from the root س-م-ع
  • تَنَصَّتَ / يَتَنَصَّتُ / التَّنَصُّت—from the root ن-ص-ت

Both of these form V verbs mean “to eavesdrop” or “to listen secretly”!

Seeing as the new academic year is speeding towards us, I think we might take a look at some useful phrases for Arabic essays soon.

Don’t forget, you can also comment below or contact me directly to let me know what else you’d like to see on the blog!

See you on my next post, إلى اللقاء!

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