Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Andrew___, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Andrew___

    Andrew___ Senior Member

    May I ask for some friendly advice on this adjective "dirty". Which of these do you prefer?

    أَرْمَد, قَذِر, نَجْس, حَقِير, وَسِخ, دَنِيء, مُتَّسِخ, سَافِل, بَذِيء, مُتَلَطِّخ

    The context is daily life situations like "Don't eat from that bowl, it's dirty". "This shirt is dirty" etc.

    I have only ever used وَسِخ before. Is this a safe option?

    Many thanks.
  2. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    The safe option is qadhir قذر because وسخ is sometime -many times, actually- used as a bad insult, at least in Egypt, so it's safer to avoid it, even when talking in fuS7a. But "muttasikh" can be a good choice with a shirt, hands, a chair... I'm not sure it can be used with a plate, but why not? :)

    As for your sentences, if you want to know the Egyptian word, many people use مش نضيف mesh neDiif (=not clean).

    These options are not really synonyms, and if used in the wrong context can be considered wrong.
    أرمدد armad: it's not commonly used. I even need to check Lisaan al-3arab to remember what it means.
    najis نجس is rather "impure" than "dirty", and to my knowledge it's mainly, if not only, used in religious context.
    - 7aqiir, danii2 and saafil refer to a person who's mean, of low morals or no moral at all.
    - badhii2 : this is a person who uses bad words often. Like the French word "grossier".
    - mutalaTTikh= stained. A stain is luTkha لطخة the verb is laTTakha لطخ (and it's used in the metaphore: لطَّخ سمعة فلان )
  3. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    By the way, قذر implies that it's dirtier than وسخ, at least that's how I use it.
  4. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I don't know which is dirtier :) But, speaking again of insults (sorry), you reminded me that well-mannered people use qadhir instead of wesekh to describe someone who's vile, immoral...
  5. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Palestinian Arabic the common word for "dirty" is وسخ (pronounced "wisekh"). I was once told by an Egyptian child that Egyptians say وحش for "dirty," which I found surprising. Maybe he didn't know what I meant. :)

    As for MSA, I agree that قذر and متسخ are generally the best equivalents.

    I agree with Cherine's comments about the other words. Some additional notes:

    نجس (pronounced "nijes") can be used in Palestinian Arabic to refer to people. It's a very negative description, similar to "scumbag" in English.
    سافل is generally used in Palestinian Arabic to refer to sexual coarseness or immodesty. It's similar to "pervert" in English.
    I would translate بذيء as "lewd" or "foul-mouthed."
  6. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Or maybe he was not taught the "bad" word :) Sometimes, parents teach their children the word we7esh (=bad) instead of the other word.
    In Egypt too, and it has the meaning of the Palestinian "saafel".
    In Egypt, it's someone immoral, وقح waqi7 and also someone who's too interested in women but in a very irrespectful way (looks, words...)
  7. Josh_ Senior Member

    the phrontistery
    U.S., English
    As some here know, I was unfortunate enough (or maybe fortunate enough depending on how I look at it) to be married to a woman with quite the foul mouth, and so my vocabulary of كلمات قبيحة may be more extensive than the average learner. At any rate, it is interesting that Maha mentions that قذر may dirtier than وسخ because that is sort of the impression I got when the words were being applied to me, in the course of an argument, for example. Of course, not being a native speaker I can't be sure, but it just seemed that way given the nature of how they were said.
  8. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    Yes, I was surprised to read that in Egypt they tend to use قذر to be more polite when my understanding is the opposite. My understanding is that قذر means that something is very dirty = filthy; while وسخ does not need to be that extreme, a little bit of dust can render something وسخ but much more will make it قذر
  9. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I understand what you mean, and who knows, maybe I'm wrong. Or maybe it's a matter of personal perception; I mean that it's possible that some Egyptian consider one of these 2 words stronger then the other, while other Egyptian see it the other way round.

    But here's a theory to explain why وسخ sounds less polite than قذر (for those who think so, of course). I think it's for two reasons:
    1- the same reason that make swearing and insulting in a foreign language seem less shocking then using the same equivalent in Arabic. A foreign language, no matter how fluent we are keeps a distant feeling (at least to many people). If we consider that qadhir (or "qazer" are we pronounce it in Egypt) is a bit distant because it's كلمة فصيحة this explains why it sounds less vulgar/bad, and more polite.
    2- the sound of the خ , for some obscure reason, is in itself less appealing/elegant... (sorry, I can't find a proper adj.) than the ق and there are other Egyptian bad words with this sound.

    I don't know if I'm making anything, but I was trying to give an explanation. All opinions are welcome.
  10. Mahaodeh Senior Member

    Arabic and English
    I don't know about خ theory, I've never really thought of the letter as less appealing or elegant in a general sense; however, it did remind me of the word كِخْ, which is used to depict something dirty so there may be a subconscious relation.

    But I do understand the theory about the فصحى seeming more polite than colloquial. I'm used to using both words in both colloquial and MSA so maybe that's why I perceive them differently.

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