Arabic/Urdu: يعني

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Senior Member
English, Gujarati & Urdu
السلام عليكم

I was wondering about the usage of the word "يعنى" in both Arabic and Urdu (spelt like that in both languages I believe). In Urdu, people use it to mean something like "meaning.." or "which means..". (In French, we'd say "c'est à dire.."). Listening to the Arabic news has made me think the Arabs use it the same way too - would that be right? If so, can you give (an) examples(s)?

Here is an Urdu one:
(a bit silly lol, but I couldn't think of anything else!)

ميں نے اس کو چمہ دى, يعنى ميں نے ميرے هوت ان كى گال پر ركهى
I kissed him/her, meaning I put my lips on his/her cheek

The term is actually used more than it should be. People just insert it anywhere, where if it was to be translated into English, it would probably not even be translated. Is it the same in Arabic?
  • DrLindenbrock

    Senior Member
    yes, in Arabic it is used (and abused :D ) the same way.
    Actually, it is an Arabic word (from a root meaning "to mean") which then passed to a number of other languages. I know for sure it is widely used in Persian, now I learn form you that it also passed to Urdu.
    I wonder if it passed to other languages, e.g. Turkish, Azeri, Kurdish, Pashto etc...



    Arabic (Egypt).
    Yes, in Arabic it's used very often as a "conversation filler". I sometimes get irritated from hearing it a bit too much, but seems that people need it to "fill" the gaps in their conversation, instead of taking a breath :) or taking a time to think.
    I remember once in the university, a colleague was answering a question -in French- and used the famous يعني , the professor's reactions was simply : il n'y pas de ya3ni.
    Je crois qu'elle avait raison là :)


    Senior Member
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Ah cool, well in Urdu it's exactly the same - a conversational filler. Some people say it about 3-4 times in a sentence! Just like Arabic I guess.

    About the root of it - yes you've made me think. The word for "meaning"/"definition" is "maanee" (معنى) in Urdu :)


    Senior Member
    English Asia
    See post #8 here معني is also Arabic.

    This dictionary A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English includes Perso-Arabic, Devanagari. gives etymology from Arabic.


    New Member
    English, USA
    I can verifiy that it is indeed used quite a bit in Pashto, with the same meaning (or lack thereof as a filler word) as in Urdu, Persian, and Arabic.


    Senior Member
    It is quite common in Hindustani also (the way Hindi is spoken in most part of North India)
    yani ké - yeh aam baat hai hindustan mein!
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