Wehr Wednesdays #119

A new word or phrase from the Hans Wehr dictionary, every Wednesday.

لا يصطلى بناره (yuṣṭalā bi-nārihī) invincible, a great hero

Root: ص-ل-ي

Page: 612*

Example: “كانوا قَوماً لا يُصْطَلى بِنارِهِم”

Translation: “they were an invincible nation”


  • يُصطَلى is the passive form of the verb يَصطَلي. To say يَصطَلي بالنار means “to seek warmth by the fire”.
  • So, لا يُصطَلى بناره literally means “no one can be warmed by his fire”. Lane’s Lexicon explains nicely how this came to carry its metaphorical meaning: no one can be warmed by his fire > no one can approach him when he is inflamed with rage (i.e. in a battle) > he is invincible.
  • If you’re wondering why this form VIII verb is spelt يصطلى rather than يصتلى, the answer is assimilation. I talked about it in some detail in this post, when we discussed the word يصطفق.

Revise all of the vocab from the series on Quizlet:

* The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, 4th Edition

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