Dictionary Finds: Collocations of شقّ


root: ج-و-و / noun / plural: أَجْواء / definition: air, atmosphere

I try to evoke, in my physical spaces, an air of refreshing minimalism.

My bedroom walls, for example, are washed in white and bare, save the two (white) floating shelves and narrow (white) floating desk that quite subtly jut out along one side.

My laptop, on the other hand, has regretfully become an epicentre of hoarding. Don’t ask me to count how many tabs and windows I have open in Chrome, some of which have remained there since close to the dawn of modern time (i.e. one of the however-many pandemic lockdowns…).

As part of my resolution to start clicking those little x‘s on these excess tabs and make way for digital minimalism, I clicked on the tab nearest to the one I’m writing in now, and—surprise, surprise—up popped the Hans Wehr, opened to page 560.

Now, I couldn’t just shut this tab because on that page, and the reason it was open in the first place, were too many juicy pieces of vocabulary. I needed to document them first.

One of the phrases, شفى غيظه من, was documented in the most recent Wehr Wednesdays post.

But what was I to do with all those intriguing collocations of the form I geminate verb شَقَّ? I couldn’t choose just one for a Wehr Wednesdays post…

So here we are, exploring them now.

Let’s look at the verb itself, first:

Need to know how to interpret entries like this? Check out How to Use (and Love) the Hans Wehr Dictionary

شَقَّ / يَشُقُّ can carry meanings like “to split” and “sprout”, “to traverse” and “travel”, and “to burden” and “be unbearable”—as well as “to visit someone”, indicating that visiting someone is tantamount to inconveniencing them!

These definitions are followed by a long list of collocations.

Some of them are more commonplace phrases related to taking or creating a path, like:

شقّ سَبيلاً

to open a way for oneself

شقّ شارِعاً/طَريقاً

to build a street/road

شقّ طَريقَهُ

to plow/plough ahead, force one’s way

شقّ طَريقاً جَديداً

to open up or enter upon a new path

Then, you have phrases like the following, which are neither here nor there for me:

شقّت جَيبَها

to tear the front of her garment as a sign of mourning

شقّ على الميزانيّة

to burden the budget

But we later come to these phrases, which I find super interesting and probably wouldn’t have guessed the meaning of, except the first which is more self-explanatory:

شقّ السُّكون

to break the silence

شقّ العَصا

to part from, or break with, the community

(note: عَصا means “stick” or “staff”, and seems to represent some form of bond in these collocations)

شقّ عَصا الطّاعة

to rebel, revolt, renounce allegiance (literally: “to break the stick of obedience/compliance”)

شقّ عَصا القَوم

to sow discord among people (lit: “to break the people’s stick”)

ما شقّ غُبارَهُ

he never quite attained (another person’s) eminence, he did not measure up to him (lit: “he didn’t cross or break through (the other person’s) dust”, similar to “being in someone’s shadow”, I guess)

لا يُشَقّ غُبارُهُ / لا يُشَقّ لَهُ غُبار

he is unsurpassable, unequalled, unrivalled, peerless, incomparable

(note that these two variations include the passive form of the verb—it’s also interesting to take a look at the other phrases underneath غُبار in the dictionary)

And, on top of those collocations for the form I verb, we also find two under the form VII verb اِنشَقّ / يَنشَقُّ (the passive of form I):

اِنشَقَّت عصاهُم

they fell out with one another

اِنشَقَّت مَرارَتُهُ

he exploded (with anger), he blew his top

Ahh, I’ve finally closed that tab. One down, a few hundred more to go.

!مع السلامة

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