Persian: âberu -آبرو

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PersoLatin

Senior Member
UK
Persian - Iran
I'd like to know how آبرو - âberu has come to mean honour, reputation, standing:
آبرو. [ ب ِ ] (اِ مرکب ) آبروی . آب روی . جاه . اعتبار.شرف . عِرض . ارج . ناموس . قدر (Dehkhoda -Dehxodâ):

آبرو ‏ریزی and آبرو ‏‏ریختن mean, the act of dishonouring oneself or being dishonoured by someone, depending on the context of use. However, splitting آبرو to آب (âb) & رو (ru), and reading it as آب رو ریختن (without the 'zir' on آب) would change its meaning to, throwing/pouring water over (someone) which is an unpleasant act, hence dishounoring them. Could that have been the starting point of it?

Of course there are آبرو داشتن/ بردن too, which operate on آبرو, as a single word, and may not work so well, with آب رو. These could easily have been developed after آب and رو, were 'mistakenly' joined to make آبرو.

Or was the original word آبرو - âbru (without the 'zir') which may refer to 'beads of sweat' on foreheads of the 'honourable' folks toiling the land?
 
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  • colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Or was the original word آبرو - âbru (without the 'zir') which may refer to 'beads of sweat' on foreheads of the 'honourable' folks toiling the land?
    I'm not sure about this, but I think what you refer to in the quoted part of your post seems acceptable: Aab (water) on the face is a sign of dignity. If you remove the water off somebody's face, you have disgraced them.
     

    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I think so. It's probably a reference to the person's feeling of shame, an emotion that is sometimes outwardly manifest through perspiration appearing on the person's face. So when you 'remove the water from the face', you are actually causing the beads of sweat to come off their face. I'm only guessing, you see, but I think this is the basic idea.
     
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    Treaty

    Senior Member
    Persian
    آب also means "brightness" or "glittering". So, it is possible that آب رو simply refer to the the "brightness of face" (contrasting to رو سیاهی, "the darkness of face
    ").
     

    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    This is possible, too. When one thinks of the idiom as آبروی کسی را ریختن, then one may automatically think of shaming people or disgracing them. But when it's a case of آبروی کسی را بردن, Treaty's interpretation seems a more sensible one. Maybe it's both.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    hi Treaty, I can't help but pose the same question for روسیاهی i.e. how has it come to mean dishonour? Is it due to burns, smoke, dirt on someone face, or something more unpleasant, like reference to a person's نژاد ?
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    Relevant dictionary entry from Platts, which is the same explanation that Treaty SaaHib provided above:
    P آب āb [Old P. āw, Pehl. āp, Zend ap, S. -अप्] s.m. Water; water or lustre (in gems); temper (of steel,& c.); edge or sharpness (of a sword, &c.); sparkle, lustre; splendour; elegance; dignity, honour, character, reputation.

    āb-rū, s.f. Lit. 'brightness of face'; honour, character, reputation, rank, dignity; grandeur; pride, credit, ornament, show, appearance
    PersoLatin said:
    hi Treaty, I can't help but pose the same question for روسیاهی i.e. how has it come to mean dishonour? Is it due to burns, smoke, dirt on someone face, or something more unpleasant, like reference to a person's نژاد ?
    In many cultures, black ink, etc. used to be rubbed on a person's face to disgrace him/her. Could it be related to this practice...?
     
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    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Thank you Alfaaz.

    In many cultures, black ink, etc
    I myself don't know about this tradition, except that, as part of the Persian new year celebrations, there's something similar but I don't know the background to it, so I can't comment on it.

    It's interesting that in your reference, āb-rū or ābru, does't have the ezāfé (so not āberu) which must be the correct way of pronouncing it.

    So Iranians should make an effort & pronounce ābru correctly for: آبرو داشتن/ بردن and آبرو ‏‏ریختن but I suppose life's too short to put all these mistakes right, there are far too many.
     

    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Such a waste of good ink! Thank you, Alfaaz. We have this saying in Persian: زمستان رفت و روسیاهی به زغال ماند. It means, more or less, "now winter is over, the [unused] charcoal is left black-faced", a reference to the fact that charcoal that's not been burnt is black. I suppose I'm trying to agree with you, Alfaaz, that روسیاهی has no connection with the colour of the skin, i.e. race, but with face that has been blackened, i.e. with disgrace brought on a person.
     

    CyrusSH

    Banned
    Persian - Iran
    I think the more important thing is the meaning of "ru", like in kamru, porru, az ru raftan, ru dashtan, ...
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    Surely that's obvious, no?

    Face, front, side, cover, over.

    ru in the sense you are referring to, is no different - In fact in English 'having too much front' means being rude, or porru, same applies to other examples.
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    colognial said:
    ... I suppose I'm trying to agree with you, Alfaaz, that روسیاهی has no connection with the colour of the skin, i.e. race, but with face that has been blackened, i.e. with disgrace brought on a person.
    Yes, there is certainly no intention of relating anything to race! I thought I should mention this, since such topics can be sensitive. Here is a reference as well:
    rū-siyāh, adj. & s.m. Having the face blackened; sullied in honour, disgraced; infamous; criminal; unfortunate;—one whose face is blackened; disgraced person, &c.:—rū-siyāhī, s.f. The state of having the face blackened; disgrace, dishonour, infamy; criminal conduct
    Slightly off topic, but it is interesting how سرخرو - surx-ru has positive connotations, even though in English we might consider it as a sign of blushing → embarrassment..?!
     

    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Which connotations are those, Alfaaz? Does سرخ رو appear in the classical literature, by any chance?
     

    Alfaaz

    Senior Member
    English
    I unfortunately cannot say much about its appearance in classical literature, but some examples are listed here. Also, it seems that the compound may have had the meaning of embarrassment as well according to the entry in this Persian dictionary.
     

    colognial

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I see. You're right. Thank you for the links. I interpret the word as mainly meaning 'healthy', 'sanguine', and not infrequently as 'flushed', perhaps 'enraged' or 'excited'. I suppose these meanings are indeed positive ones in the main.
     

    PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    MacKenzie Pahlavi dictionary says MP husraw (hwslwb) NP xusraw (خسرو), means, famous, of good repute.

    Can someone help with this please: Is husraw made up of hus (خوش) + raw, or hu (خوب)+ s (??) + raw? And is 'raw' the same as NP ru for face?

    Maybe ru in آبرو means 'repute' rather than face, in this case.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    MacKenzie Pahlavi dictionary says MP husraw (hwslwb) NP xusraw (خسرو), means, famous, of good repute.

    Can someone help with this please: Is husraw made up of hus (خوش) + raw, or hu (خوب)+ s (??) + raw? And is 'raw' the same as NP ru for face?

    Maybe ru in آبرو means 'repute' rather than face, in this case.
    It is from hu "good" and sraw "word, reputation". sraw and rō(y) are not related.
     
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    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    آب also means "brightness" or "glittering". So, it is possible that آب رو simply refer to the the "brightness of face" (contrasting to رو سیاهی, "the darkness of face
    ").
    āb-rō(y) is clearly a compound of āb and rō(y). āb means “water” of course, but it is frequently used in the metaphorical sense “brightness, glitter etc.” The compound seems to be an inverted tatpuruṣa “brilliance of face” and hence “honour, good repute”. I have not seen it in Middle Persian and venture to suggest that it is simply a calque on Arabic māʼu l-wajh ماء الوجه , which has exactly the same meanings, literally “water of the face”, then “honour”.
     

    molana

    Senior Member
    Persian
    One can now claim that the Arabic word "ماء الوجه" is doubtlessly a loan translation from Persian "آبرو".
     

    Treaty

    Senior Member
    Persian
    آبرو, from Old Persian "āba-rauda"
    Old Iranian for آب is apa/āpa not āba. Besides, the asterisk (*) before the word indicates that this word is not attested but reconstructed. Considering fdb's (#24) suggesting of a lack of evidence in MP, it would have been nice to know based on which link the author decided there is an Old Iranian predecessor for this word.
     
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