Hindi: भयंकर बनाम भयानक /bhayaNkar banaam bhayaanak/

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marrish

Senior Member
اُردو Urdu
Hello,

While both भयानक bhayaanak and भयंकर bhayaNkar are adjectives which roughly mean "fear-inspiring", I think भयानक bhayaanak is more used than भयंकर, isn't it? The only time I encountered भयंकर before was as one of Shiva's epithets.

However today I've come across the latter, even twice on top of that, being used as a qualifier for 'fire' - भयंकर आग bhayaNkar aag and भयंकर सांप्रदायिक दंगे bhayaNkar saaNpradaayik daNge.

Therefore my question is whether there is any difference between these two similar words.

Etymologically speaking, both are formations on the stem bhaya-. but that says nothing about the present Hindi usage.
 
  • littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    भयंकर is used a lot, and in fact in my experience used more than भयानक in speech. For example, "bhayaNkar baat ho gaii" is used a lot. "bhayankar" is used a lot in the weak sense of "terrible" (and even "terrific" sometimes) and inspires much less fear than the very strong "bhayaanak". The word "bhayaanak" inspires real fear, whereas the much more banal "bhayaNkar" does not.
     

    marrish

    Senior Member
    اُردو Urdu
    Thank you dear @littlepond jii for your comments which answer my question very well.

    In Urdu, FYI, I didn't hear bhayaNkar used but bhayaanak (often pronounced bhiyaanak... and even bhayaaNchak :)) is heard very often.
     

    MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    In the song "Jai Jai Shivshankar", from the 2019 Indian movie "War", there is a song taking place in some sort of festive mountain monastery turned discotheque turned Holi, the chorus goes:

    hō jay jay shiv shaNkar
    aaj [mood] hai bhayaNkar
    raNg uRne do, raNg uRne do


    As mentioned, it seems any sense of actual fear is absent, same as with the word "terrific" in English

    And in the Urdu lughat, for bhayaNkar, as also mentioned, it refers you to bhayaanak
     
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