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KHair-andesh

thinking well, well wisher

duudh-shariik bahan

foster sister

risaa.ii

related to grief and death, elegiac

zarf

vessel, vase, receptacle

tihaa.ii

one third, one-third part

laa'nat

curse, anathema, imprecation, reproach, reproof, rebuke

qahr Dhaanaa

to be wrathful, to rage

mazduur

a hired labourer, worker

chale na jaa.e aa.ngan Te.Dhaa

a bad workman blames his tools

aage naath na piichhe pagaa

heirless, lone, lone wolf

saahir

magician, sorcerer, wizard, conjuror

ku.Dmaa.ii

the celebration of of an engagement, betrothal, engagement

nazar-bhar dekhnaa

to look carefully

KHvaaja-e-taash

slaves of the same master in relation to one another, slave colleagues

maiyaa

kindness, mercy

qafas

cage for birds

husn-e-talab

a decent way of desiring, nice way of asking

basar

living, livelihood, course of life

basar-auqaat

state of just living a life (esp. with mediocre means), whiling away one's time means of livelihood, passing (one's) time, occupation, employment, subsistence, livelihood, means of living

muntashir

spread, wide-spread, dispersed, diffused, diffuse

Home / Blog / Ghalat-ul-Avam: The Surprising Success of Mispronounced Urdu Words

Ghalat-ul-Avam: The Surprising Success of Mispronounced Urdu Words

by Atifa Haroon 31 March 2024 3 min Read

Ghalat-ul-Avam: The Surprising Success of Mispronounced Urdu Words

Dear readers, toady we’re setting forth on a journey to explore Urdu words that took a detour on the linguistic highway, only to arrive at their intended destination! Confused? Well, don’t you worry. We're here to decode this linguistic rollercoaster. 

In the vast expanse of Urdu, there are some words which ended up in the lexicon, dictionaries and everyday usage of the speakers, despite being wrong. Quite surprising, isn’t it? These words started getting pronounced incorrectly, and these incorrect pronunciations gained popularity to the point where the wrong became right. 

This linguistic phenomenon is known as ‘Ghalat-ul-Avam’ (a mistake of the common people) in Urdu. It is also called ‘Ghalat-ul-Aam’ (a popular mistake). You’ll be surprised to learn the words that are a part of this phenomenon, because of their popularity! Take a look at this list we have compiled, and enjoy learning their right forms.

‘Aamdani’ is such a common word, especially in the Indian subcontinent. Your salary, means of sustenance or your daily bread and butter - all of these can be called your ‘aamdani’. But, what if I tell you that ‘aamdani’ is not ‘aamdani’ at all? It is in fact ‘aamadani’, which has been now accepted as ‘aamdani’! So the next time a nosey relative asks, ‘beta, aap ki aamdani kitni hai’ just shrug them off with a polite ‘aamdani toh kuch hoti hi nahi hai uncle jee’ and enjoy the confused looks on their face!

Another very common word emerging out of the list of ‘Ghalat-ul-Avaam’ is ‘qameez’ which means a shirt, or a top wear. However, qameez is the incorrect form, which got popularised. The correct version is 'qamees', and has been hiding under the wraps for the longest time. 

One word relaxing in its incorrect version in the cool mode is ‘qulfi’. Yes, I’m talking about the same delicious qulfi which beats the heat with its rich flavors and chilled texture. But do you know that qulfi is actually the wrong version of ‘qufli’? Yes, it is qufli which is the right version, but has frozen to its oblivion, as qulfi took the center stage and won everyone’s heart!

The last word on our list today is a relaxed ‘jamaai’ which means a yawn. You must have heard an elder saying “beta, moonh pe haanth rakh ke jamaai lo” suggesting that you cover your mouth while yawning. But, jamaa’i is the inccorect form of the word ‘jamaahi’. The ‘h-’ sound got dropped in the incorrect version, and jamaai quite ironically sped up to recognition. 

And with this, we wrap up the saga of the wrongs becoming the right. Although the right versions still exist, yet, the wrong ones gained more popularity. Keep an eye out, and you might find a couple more words from the ‘Ghalat-ul-Avam’ family yourself!

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