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aa.nkh oT pahaa.D oT

out of sight, out of mind

TaaT ulaTnaa

(a business) close or be closed down, to become bankrupt or insolvent, the (banker's or merchant's), to be turned over


what is your name


charge sheet, indictment, calendar of crime


deep, profound

naak par Gussa honaa

to carry (one's) anger, or temper, at the tip of the nose, have a very short temper, be irritable

mu.nh paka.Dnaa

to stop the mouth (of)


a hired labourer, worker

suriilii aavaaz

melodious voice


of or belonging to Kabul


love, fondness, affection, desire


a merchant or trader of small capital or stock-in-trade, a petty merchant, bankrupt, broke


shine, glitter, brightness

suup to suup chhalnii bhii bolii jis me.n bahattar chhed

the kettle calling the pot black, the defective person should look at its own defects before opening the tongue, the one who have a clean image, then it is brag


hen-pecked (husband), subservient husband, uxorious


the celebration of of an engagement, betrothal, engagement

duudh-shariik bahan

foster sister


rebel, traitor, insurgent, mutineer, rebellious, disloyal


custody (plural & singular)


charity, alms

Home / Blog / Word Builders: Expanding Vocabulary With ba-

Word Builders: Expanding Vocabulary With ba-

by Atifa Haroon 08 May 2023 3 min Read

Word Builders: Expanding Vocabulary With ba-

Hey there, word wizards! I think we’ll all approve to the notion that a good companion enroute a long journey or during a taxing task is what everyone really needs to get through. 

And much like us are the words that we use. It is what accompanies a word that defines how much depth it carries and how positive or negative its connotations are.

To understand this very concept of company within Urdu linguistic morphology, the prefix to accompany us in our discussion today is baa-.

baa- (با), also written as ba- (بَ) in its most basic sense, is used to denote the state of being with or accompanied by (something or someone) However, it can also be used to signify directions, connections, correspondence etc.

To get a better understanding of how baa- can be use in various contexts, take a look at the words we have detailed for you.

tamiiz is an Arabic word which literally means respect, good manners or the observance of good manners and etiquettes in an act. When ba- is added as a prefix to tamiiz, it simply signifies that something is being said or done with respect. 

So, "ba.Do.n se baa-tamiiz baat kijiye" will mean "talk to your elders with respect," while "woh hum se baa-tamiiz pesh aaye" means "they treated us with respect." 

If you know a Muslim fellow, chances are that you might’ve heard them saying ‘ruu-ba-Qiblah’ when they are about to begin their prayers. Here, ba- is used as an infix to indicate the position towards the Qiblah, which is the direction Muslims face when praying.

In the term 'KHud-ba-KHud', this tiny addition plays a crucial role in conveying meaning. This one's a bit tricky, but bear with me. 

By connecting the word "KHud" (self) with itself, ba- denotes a connection of the self, with the self. So, KHud-ba-Khud literally means of or by itself, and can also refer to something happening automatically or on its own. 

Having roots in Arabic, the term vujuud literally means existence or being. But instead of meaning ‘with existence, or existing’ with the addition of baa-, the meaning takes a completely ironical form. The combination of baa- with vujuud means in spite of, or despite (of something, that may be present or proven). 

Another interesting meaning that baa- possesses is that of positive assertion. vafaa, as you might know, means loyalty or sincerity. And when baa- is added to it, it becomes an adjective, describing someone as a loyal person. 

A lot many people tend to get confused when they come across the term baa-vafaa, owing to the vast popularity of its antonym, be-vafaa, which has been extensively used in Urdu poetry. be-vafaa means faithless or disloyal, since the prefix be- means ‘without’. 

Take a look at this couplet by Jamil Malik, who has used both these terms:

ham se koī ta.alluq-e-ḳhātir to hai use
vo yaar bā-vafā na sahī bevafā to hai

If you were already satiated with the meanings that the two (or three) lettered baa- can potentially have, you will have to make space for some more.

The term baa-KHudaa means ‘swear on God’, or ‘by God’ and is commonly used in conversations to intensify one’s argument or stance. People generally use this term to assert genuineness. For e.g. 'baa-KHudaa mai.n ne ye baat kisi ko nahii.n bataa.ii' would mean 'I swear by God, I didn't tell a soul about this event!' 

So dear readers, wouldn't you agree that discovering the multitude of meanings packed into a small prefix (or infix) like "baa-" is truly a linguistic marvel? And if you thought this is all there is to "baa-", then hold on tight, because baa-KHudaa, there is a long way yet to go. Until then, keep visiting this space and keep learning. Naya blog KHud-ba-KHud jald hi aayega!

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