Persian: کثیف / کثافت


Senior Member
Arabic (Bahrain), Persian
كثيف in Arabic means thick or dense (as in thick hair, or dense jungle).

So why does it mean dirty in Persian? Anyone know the history of this development?

Interestingly, Arabs in eastern KSA and Bahrain use the word كسيف / كسافة (with a Persian "s" pronunciation of the ث) to mean dirty/filth. I guess this was borrowed from Persian.
  • Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I don't know how the Arabic كثيف came to mean dirty in Persian, but كسيف used in Arabic has a different etymology and comes from a different root altogether.

    It comes from the root ك س ف (k s f) that has the meaning of 'loosing the light', 'dimming' , and then it was expanded to also mean 'looking away', 'bad, not good quality', and 'broken to pieces'; and although I was unable to find it my dictionary, apparently in KSA and Bahrain it also means 'dirty'. Also not in the dictionary is the Egyptian use to mean 'shame, or ashamed' sometimes even 'shy'.
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