All IIR Languages: miyaaN, miyaan

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Wolverine9, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Using QP saahib's suggestion, I decided to post this enquiry here as a supplement to the original discussion on the etymology forum, which you can find here.

    In Urdu, miyaaN is used as a respectful term, equivalent to "sir, mister", while miyaan means "middle, waist". Are both of these forms or meanings present in Farsi (as spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, or Central Asia)? Does miyaan have any other meaning or connotation in Farsi?

    Is miyaaN used in any other Indo-Iranian language besides Urdu?
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  2. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    miyaaN also means husband in Urdu. I don't think there's any link between miyaaN and miyaan. But let's hear from our respected colleagues.
  3. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    There is the MiyaaN (commonly transliterated as Mian in English orthography) Arain caste in Pakistani Punjab also.
  4. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    You will surely be aware of its usage in Punjabi, Hindi and Nepalese! I believe Bengali has it too.
  5. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Apart from the various usages of "miyaaN" in Urdu that have already been provided in the other thread, "miyaaNRe" is a term used for that community of people in the Punjab who, as their means of livlihood, have traditionally taught children to read the Qur'an.

    Then there is the phrase "Allah MiyaaN". Interestingly, we don't have "Xudaa MiyaaN" or any other word for God-MiyaaN!

    Wolverine9, it might be worth copy pasting here Treaty's reply from the other thread (Post 25).

    In the well-known Punjabi love story (Heer) by a Sufi poet Waris Shah (1722-1798), after stating the reasons behind his composing this work, the author begins the story in the opening lines with the praise of God..The refrain (in the style of a Ghazal) is the word "miyaaN".

    avval Hamd xudaa daa vird kiije, 3ishq kiitaa suu jag daa muul, miyaaN
    pahlaaN aap hii rab ne 3ishq kiitaa, te ma3shuuq e Nabii-Rasuul, miyaaN

    First, let us repeatedly praise God since love was the cause of his creation, sir
    It was God Himself, who first fell in love and the Prophet was his beloved, sir
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2016
  6. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    miyaaN is indeed the Urdu equivalent of Hindi "shrii"; however, "miyaaN" itself is used in Hindi, though the "sir, mister" meaning is the least-utilised one as far as Hindi is concerned. The three most widespread usages of "miyaaN" in Hindi are:

    (1) Husband, a meaning which also seems to be present in Urdu (see post 2).
    (2) Buddy. For example, someone saying to his friend: "Are miyaaN, kahaaN chale?"
    (3) Anyone Muslim. For example, "vahaaN miyaaN log rehte haiN" (this meaning is in several Indian languages, not just Hindi). "miyaaN" in this sense can be either noun or adjective.
  7. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    ^ Despite the dubious etymological connection to mitra, it is interesting to note that one of the meanings is buddy.

    Here are two of Treaty's informative posts:
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2016
  8. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I just wish to comment concerning the first of Treaty's posts. My personal experience is not indicative of use of "miyaaN" as a teacher being especially common/popular amongst Shias (or Sufis).

    In the sentence "are miyaaN, kahaaN chale?", I personally would n't equate "miyaaN" with "buddy". For example, I don't believe we would/could say, "vuh meraa miyaaN hai" (He is my buddy).
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2016
  9. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English

    Perhaps it used to be more common. Platts lists miyaaN-jii as "school master" i.e. teacher, so it could've been more prevalent in the 19th century. I just noticed another meaning of miyaaN-jii is "a go-between" i.e. mediator, a definition connected to the Persian miyaanjii.

    Would it be roughly equivalent to janaab or saahib instead?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2016
  10. Aryamp

    Aryamp Persimod


    Miyaan in Farsi spoken in Iran does not mean 'Sir, Mister' but indeed it means 'middle , between' and also 'waist - specially in literature and archaic usage'.

    In colloquial speech 'miaayand = they come' is pronounced like 'miyaan' but it's a different word just similar pronunciation.
  11. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    miyaaN is no less prevalent now than it was in the nineteenth century.

    My feeling is that this part of the entry is misplaced and belongs to the Persian "miyaan" entry. As I have indicated in the other thread, I believe this in reality is "miyaan-chii" where "chii" is the Turkish agential suffix. In Urdu, we have "top-chii" (gunner), "xazaanchii" (treasurer). There are instances of ch>>j in Persian.

    My dictionary also gives "miyaaN-aadamii" to mean "gentleman", "nice man". "miyaaN jii" is given as "elementary teacher in mosque school" which is correct.

    miyaan (Persian) also means "sheath" for a sword and "miyaan-bastah" (ready) where miyaan means "waist".

    Edit: It has just occurred to me that I know an Iranian gentleman whose surname is "dastmaalchii" (handkerchief maker?).

    Wolverine 9, it all depends on context. One could use this sentence to a male person of one's own age, one's son's age or even one quite a bit older than one. So, it could be "Sir, janaab" for all the age groups, a bit of sarchasm might come into play for the younger gentleman. One English equivalent could be "My good fellow" or "My dear", even though this sounds a bit old fashioned.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2016
  12. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    One cannot of course say "woh meraa miyaaN hai", but one cannot say to someone who's not a very good acquaintance, "are Miyaan, kahaan chale?" One can only say this to a buddy, a neighbour, etc. - someone with whome one has daily "uThnaa-baiThnaa". That was my point.

    Yes, the same sentence could also be said as "Are Janaab, kahaan chale?" - and, again, "janaab" loses its usual meaning in this sentence and gains a (very) familiar touch.
  13. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I disagree. One can say ''are miyaaN kahaaN chale'' to a complete stranger, at least in the original language which I consider Urdu.
  14. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    I agree. In this context miyaaN (solo, without a name) is used by an older person to address someone younger, whether acquainted or stranger.

    When miyaaN is added after a person's given name (e.g. zaahid miyaaN), especially (but not exclusively) in the second person, it normally indicates close acquaintance/relation, still for someone younger, and is treated as a term of endearment.

    When miyaaN is used as a suffix to a relation name, like chachaa miyaaN, maamuuN miyaaN, bha'ii miyaaN, it is used by a younger person for someone older, and as a term of respect.
  15. searcher123

    searcher123 Senior Member

    My home ;-) /The Persian Gulf
    I have not heard or read ميان in the meaning of "sir/mister/teacher" to now at all. In modern Persian, ميان is used just in the following meanings:

    1. Middle. Example: ميان تنه (=waist)
    2. Between. Example: ميان وعده (i.e. the dishes that will be eaten in between two main dish/meal/serving)
    3. Along with. Example: او ميان مردم زندگي مي‌كند
    4. Among. Example: ميان آن دو شباهت زيادي وجود دارد
  16. tarkshya Senior Member

    I read this thread fully, but I don't think the etymology question was ever adequately addressed. So what are the origins of the word miyaaN (as in the meaning of "sir")?
  17. mundiya Senior Member

    Hindi, English, Punjabi
    Most likely the etymology is Persian. This other thread covers the topic more thoroughly: Urdu: miyaaN

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