Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi: "He is just spineless"

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Qureshpor, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    "Spineless", quite apt in my view, describes a person who stands on the fence but does not commit himself/herself one way or another. One can not rely on such a person in time of need for backing, especially for one's point of view or cause even though one would expect such backing from this person. How would you express this kind of person in your language?
     
  2. UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Urdu: kam-himmat, naa-qaabil-i-ai3tibaar/bharosa
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  3. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    naamard. No better expression in Hindi for such a person.
     
  4. Alfaaz Senior Member

    English
    These could be some possibilities (depending on the specific context/person): مذبذب ، متزلزل ، غیر مستقل (مزاج) ، کمزور ، بزدل ، غیر جانب دار ناظر/ ناظرہ (muzabzab, mutazalzal, ghair mustaqil (mizaaj), kamzor, buzdil, ghair jaanibdaar naazir/naazirah)

    Question: GT gives متخاذلة (apart from ضعيف الشخصية) for Arabic. Does Urdu use this or a related word?
    خَذَل is listed here and seems partially similar to your description "stands on the fence but does not commit himself/herself one way or another": مدد و یاری نہ کرنا، چھوٹ کر الگ ہو جانا، مدد چھوڑنا، ذلیل کرنا۔ (madad-o-yaari nah karnaa, chhooT kar alag ho jaanaa, madad choRnaa, zaleel karnaa)
     
  5. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Only applicable to a male, not a female.
     
  6. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Because when "spineless" is applied to a woman, then it means something else rather: someone who is led/subjugated easily, who does not have the guts to stand up on her own feet in this (male-dominated) world. Which is not what QP asked for: he is searching for someone who is someone unreliable, who could back off when you need him.
    Here are a couple of links for you to know what "spineless" means in woman terms: http://aloftyexistence.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/do-men-like-strong-women/ and http://www.codeislove.net/2012_05_01_archive.html (search for "spineless"). Note that "spineless" for the woman could also mean the same thing in sex play.

    Back to the original post now: One can also use here someone being a "loTaa", though this expression is also used for those people who keep dithering over between both (or all, if more than two) parties. But here as well it could work.
     
  7. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    My opinion is that someone can be spineless, without sex differentiation.
     
  8. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Well, marrish, you're always welcome to your opinions :) Of course, someone can be spineless without sex differentiation (and literally, too), but the issue is what the other person will infer: if you think the other person will get the same idea, you can continue to think so, it doesn't matter to me in the least.
     
  9. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    You'd be better off to discuss it further in the English only forum, if you wish, and I can join you there if you really want to discuss my opinion. If not, consider it the last thing I said on this subject.
     
  10. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Spineless in the meaning of: weak, coward = lacking guts, etc.

    In Urdu we can have: weak = کمزور kamzor; coward = بزدل buzdil / بے ہمت be-himmat;

    While نامرد naamard is used to mean ہجڑا हिजड़ा hijRaa (= eunuch, unmanly, cowardly). Also, طواشی Tawaashii; زنخا zanxaa / زنخه zanxah.

    It should be obvious that we can’t really use naamard for a woman even when we wish to mean spineless / coward ! … and please don’t tell me that in Hindi all of a sudden this has come to be so because I know this wouldn’t be correct usage.

    Of course we all know that in the way it is meant, بے ریڑھ be-reeRh = spineless, is just not on either!!

    He is just spineless

    woh maHDh (maHiDh) buzdil / kamzor / be-himmat hai

    woh maHDh (maHiDh) naamard hai <-
    OK for a man but not a woman!!

    woh maHdh (maHiDh) be-riiRh hai <-
    This should be taken merely in good humour!
     
  11. JaiHind Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi
    This may be wrong meaning of the term. What you are describing is called a "confused" or "indecisive" person. भ्रमित or better, दुविधाग्रस्त in Hindi.

    This may again be wrong meaning of the term. What you are describing is called a "distrustful" or "unreliable" person. It is called अविश्वासी in Hindi.

    I hope you have got the answer. Because you were not literally trying to translate "Spineless" into Hindi/other languages, but you were interested to describe such a person in those languages. So you can make a pick from भ्रमित, दुविधाग्रस्त, and अविश्वासी in Hindi.


     
  12. JaiHind Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi
    Yes, literally, this is a good translation of the term.

    Or I will give "रीढ़विहीन".

    I can even quote examples from daily newspaper:



    Others:


     
  13. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ javaab ke liye shukriyah. ho saktaa hai kih maiN "spineless" ke ma3nii Thiik tarH nahiiN samajh paayaa huuN lekin yaqiin maaniye maiN baRii aasaanii se aise logoN kii pahchaan kar saktaa huuN.
     
  14. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Here is the link to the English Only thread:

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2498571
     
  15. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    UM SaaHib. Thank you. I think "kam-himmat" probably fits the bill but the concept that I have in mind is possibly a combination of lack of courage and unreliability. I don't know if there is such a word in existence. I asked someone else and they suggested "be-Ghairat" but this, at least in the daily language, has other connotations.
     
  16. nineth Senior Member

    Hindi, Telugu
    avishvasaneeya (अविश्वसनीय) - someone you can't rely/depend on or believe in.
     
  17. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for your comprehensive reply, as is your norm.Your list contains words which have component parts of the type of person I have in mind but none presents the complete picture, unfortunately. I have n't come across xazl in Urdu. Is it common?
     
  18. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Doesn't that mean "incredible"?
     
  19. nineth Senior Member

    Hindi, Telugu
    Yes, it can also mean that. I think it depends on whether the noun being modified is a person or a thing. The meaning I put is assuming it's for a person - in which case it fits what we want here.
     
  20. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    OK, thanks; I was unaware that it could also mean unreliable.
     
  21. nineth Senior Member

    Hindi, Telugu
    Yes, since believe, trust, and rely are all connected, when you say that a person or information is incredible, all of them apply. vishvaas will have a similar implication.
     
  22. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Well, in English, incredible has usually a positive sense when applied to a person; the only time it has a negative sense is when someone is making "incredible" claims.
     
  23. nineth Senior Member

    Hindi, Telugu
    Right, I agree; I sort of confused "not credible" with incredible, and their usage differs as we know. avishvasiniiya vyakti would map to "not credible person" for me.
     
  24. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    From the "spineless" thread on the English forum and from another thread run by me with some fellow English language professionals on a private network, "spineless" does come across as a gender-independent word. So my apologies for thinking of a gender-dependent nuance which does not exist to all concerned. I haven't been happy with "buzdil" as that means directly a coward according to me, so I don't have any idea so far what would be a good word that could apply to all spineless people, regardless of gender, as I personally haven't liked any suggestions so far made (except "riDh-vihiin", but that is too literal and too much of a mouthful for me).
     
  25. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Can you tell me whether the syllable shva is a short one or was it a typo?
     
  26. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    I don't see any typo.
     
  27. nineth Senior Member

    Hindi, Telugu
    The 'sh' is a half 'sha'; the 'va' is a full one (but not vaa).
     
  28. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I'm asking because in post#11 there is -vaa-.
     
  29. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    That "vaa" is also correct.
     
  30. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    More about "spineless" in English as applied to a woman, as there is also a minority of native English speakers who like me can't see "spineless" being applied to a woman. Here's a sample response from a native US speaker, whose daily business is to be concerned about and fix English usages:

    I don't see "spineless" as gender independent. I definitely think of it as being used more as a cut toward men than toward women. If I was speaking of a "spineless" woman, I would probably say that she needed to grow some balls (if I was speaking offensively in that manner) or she's wishy washy or I didn't trust her, but I just wouldn't call her spineless.

    The whole thread is unfortunately a private thread meant for language professionals, so members here can't have access.
     
  31. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Thank you for providing the link. It appears that the views of people on both sides of Atlantic are that the word can be used for both males and females. Here is a quote taken from the Online Slang Dictionary (American, English and Urban Slang)

    http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/spineless

    Spineless

    Not having the courage to say something, not standing up for yourself, not having the courage to say no.

    "She should've said something and not be so spineless".

    Being a person who has lived four fifths of his life amongst the English (in England), I can tell you that the word is equally applicable to both genders.
     
  32. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    No; there is a majority that is of that opinion, but a sizeable minority is also not of that opinion: in short, the usage of "spineless" to a woman is far from unanimous. See post 30. As for living in England among the English, that does not mean anything: I have met far too many native English people who can't even spell properly.
     
  33. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    On the other hand English learners may be well aware of spelling intricacies but most frequently make wrong word choice and can't speak the language properly.
     
  34. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    Of course, many English learners would make not just wrong word choices but also spelling mistakes. Who's the English learner though, here; I don't see your point.
     
  35. urdupoetree New Member

    Urdu
    having lack of decision power...
     
  36. greatbear Senior Member

    India
    India - Hindi & English
    How would you differentiate it then from irresolute, urdupoetree? Welcome to the forum, and anyway the thread's about Urdu/Hindi/Punjabi, not English, so if you could suggest a word or two in those, it would help more...
     

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