Two Arabic Verbs Meaning “to Harbour Feelings”


root: ش-ع-ر / noun / plural: مَشاعِر / definition: feeling, emotion

After writing a 4000-word essay in a matter of days and sleepily submitting it at midnight, I’m finally feeling ready to jump into term two at university!

And speaking of feelings (…smooth transition there), this week I wanted to show you two Arabic verbs that mean “to harbour feelings (towards)”.

These two terms are just that little bit more sophisticated than the basic شعر / يشعر (“to feel”) which Arabic students tend to learn in their first year at university and then continue to use whenever the topic of emotions comes up.

So the verbs below are great to use when you want to show off your lexical repertoire (and why shouldn’t you?!):

كَنَّ / يَكُنُّ

كنّ is a form I verb, derived from the root ك-ن-ن.


كَنَّتْ لَهُ العَداوةَ لِفَترَةٍ طَويلة

she harboured enmity towards him for a long time

أَضمَرَ / يُضمِرُ

أضمر is a form IV verb from the root ض-م-ر, from which the word ضَمير (“conscience”) is also derived (interesting!).

The Hans Wehr gives us the following example:

أَضمَرَ لَهُ الشَّرّ

he harboured ill will against him / he held a grudge against him

Of course, in a language as vast as Arabic, these aren’t the only verbs we can use to refer to harbouring feelings.

On this page, for instance, the Hans Wehr shows us that both the form I and form III verbs from the root ك-ش-ح can be used in the following phrases, which both mean “to harbour enmity towards / to hate someone”:

  • كَشَحَ / يَكشَحُ لَهُ بِالعَداوة
  • كاشَحَهُ / يُكاشِحُهُ بِالعَداوة

If you want to polish up that lexical repertoire of yours a bit more, make sure to check out the other posts in the synonyms series and catch up on all the Wehr Wednesdays posts. Remember that in each Wehr Wednesdays post, you’ll find links to the Quizlet sets where you can revise all of the vocabulary covered in the series so far!

On another note, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a long post, like a step-by-step literature translation, but I have a little more free time this term having got my optional credits for the year out of the way already. So hopefully we’ll have a bit more variety again on the blog in the next few weeks and months.

See you on my next post!

!مع السلامة

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