to dent something

Discussion in 'العربية (Arabic)' started by Abu Talha, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Abu Talha Senior Member


    I'm looking for a Standard Arabic verb for "to dent something." I think بعج is used in MSA (انبعج for "to be dented"), but I don't find this meaning in the classical dictionaries. It seems to mean "to rip someone's belly and disembowel someone." The closest verb I could find was ثلم يثلم which has the meaning of nicking or notching something, for example the edge of a vessel.

    Are there any other verbs that convey the meaning of "denting" more accurately? By dent, I mean, e.g., the exterior damage to a vehicle's body as a result of a minor collision, or to a helmet as a result of hitting the ground.

  2. إسكندراني

    إسكندراني Senior Member

    أرض الأنجل
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    I have never heard بعج and wouldn't know what it means - if someone has seen this word please let us know :)
    In Egypt we use طبّق - which is a strange word to use (because it usually means 'fold') but when used in context it means 'dent'. Unfortunately I cannot come up with a standard arabic verb :(
  3. barkoosh Senior Member

    Had Arabs had metal sheets in the past, maybe they would have used the verb هزمَ for "to dent". According to القاموس المحيط (
    هَزَمَه يَهْزِمُه فانْهَزَمَ: غَمَزَه بيدِه فصارَتْ فيه حُفْرَةٌ
    However, the most common meaning of this word in MSA is "to defeat".

    The word بعج is well known in Lebanon and means "to dent".
  4. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I've never seen بعج either, but انبعج and the noun انبعاج are rather common in MSA.
    I can't think of other verbs/words to express this.
  5. Abu Talha Senior Member

    Thank you very much Iskenderany, Barkoosh, Cherine, for your helpful replies.
    Actually, I haven't come across بعج either. I've read انبعج and saw in the dictionary that بعج was the transitive for the same meaning so I mentioned both.
    Regarding the Arabs having metal sheets, they had shields and helmets, and I don't know about plate armor, so perhaps they did express this meaning in some way?
    Reading لسان العرب I think that هزم fits the meaning of "denting" very nicely (thanks for suggesting it!), even though I don't think metals are mentioned in the definition. The basic definition reads
    This too seems relevant:
    However, reading the definition of بعج it seems it may also be somewhat relevant:
    The difference is that انبعج may be too strong for "denting" because here the rain is exposing the rocks in the ground due to its intensity.

    Also, I found هشم:
    but again this seems to be outright breaking, rather than just denting.

    As natives, do you think انبعج could mean, "to be dented," based on the analogy of rain falling on the ground?
    ِAlso, what did you think about ثلم ?

    Finally, how about expressing the meaning with more than one word: أصيبت السيارة بضربة أو بصدمة فانخفض جسمها ?

  6. barkoosh Senior Member

    You're right, or at least some copper utensils. I looked but couldn't find the word they used to express this meaning.

    انبعج (for those who use it) is automatically considered the reflective form of بعج. The rain analogy has nothing to do with it because بعج is never used in the context of rain.

    ثلم is more like "crack, notch, groove".

    When I read this I would think that the car's whole body dropped, maybe because the tires went flat.
  7. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    a dent to the body of a car is صدمة أو دقشة
  8. Abu Talha Senior Member

    Thanks for replying Barkoosh, Ayed.
    I guess I meant, given that the dictionaries use it in the context of rain, do you think that it could be used to mean "being dented" by way of analogy. I understand that people, when they use انبعج, don't connect it with rain striking the ground, but I was wondering whether it's use for "to be dented" could be considered correct مجازا.
    I see what you mean. I wonder if I may ask how this meaning may best be expressed without resorting to either انبعج/بعج or انهزم/هزم (because انبعج seems to be incorrect for now, while هزم may not be understood) ? Would خسف meaning "sink in" work? أصابت السيارةَ صدمةٌ فخَسَفَ جسمُها من ناحيةٍ

    I didn't find دقشة with this meaning in the dictionaries but I see دقس possibly having this meaning. العباب الزاخر seems to have the most information about this root:
    Does it seem more like "penetrate into" rather than "dent"? And wouldn't صدمة be too vague? Wouldn't it just mean a collision or shock, without specifying the extent of the damage caused by the collision?
  9. barkoosh Senior Member

    :) It's not incorrect, it's only uncommon in some countries. The word acquired a new meaning. Modern dictionaries use it:
    انبعج: تغيّر شكله بصورة غير منتظمة لوجود بروز أو تجويف فيه
    (المعجم العربي الأساسي، معجم اللغة العربية المعاصرة)

    انبعج: تشوّه شكلٌ وانضغط إلى الداخل
    (المنجد في اللغة العربية المعاصرة)

    Check this definition of the word "barrel" by the Arabic Academy of Cairo:
    برميل: وعاء أسطوانى منبعج من وسطه يصنع من المعدن أو من شرائح الخشب، يستعمل فى تعبئة المواد الصلبة والسائلة وتخزينها

    Still, the word is not used in some Arab countries.

    The word خسف could work. But since أصابته صدمة is usually used with people ("he had a shock") not with cars, I suggest the following:
    وقع حادث اصطدام انخسف/انبعج فيه جسم/بدن السيارة
  10. Abu Talha Senior Member

    Thanks very much for your very helpful research. It's true that the word has acquired a new meaning, but it has been my impression that الفصحى has always been rather conservative in adopting new meanings, and that there is a prescriptive atmosphere, at least in academic circles. As for modern dictionaries including the meaning, many of them are descriptive, i.e., describing current usage, even if that usage is colloquial which has crept into the written language.

    Even if the new meaning of a word is somehow related to the classical one, sometimes it is not considered correct by some. An example I came across today is دمغ for branding an item. محمد العدناني in his معجم الأغلاط اللغوية says that وسم or طبع should be used instead. دمغ's classical meaning means to bash someone's brain in, so there exists a connection with the modern meaning, but it is not deemed sufficient especially in the face of other words that have a closer connection. Having said that, this is the اجتهاد of one scholar, and other scholars and the Arabic academies may have their own say.

    I guess the point of this thread is to discuss whether انبعج can be considered correct from this prescriptive standpoint, and to see which other words may be more fitting. The Arabic Academy's mention of انبعج for this meaning certainly gives it much weight. In fact, it seems to me that perhaps it is using the word with a meaning which is substantiated by the classical dictionaries. اللسان has:
    Infact, even re-reading what I quoted earlier, it seems انبعج may support the meaning of "to be dented". The only difference is that the cloud gets dents in it because of rain leaving it, not by something hitting it. What do you think?
  11. rayloom

    rayloom Senior Member

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    In Hijazi Arabic, we use بعج. And also طعج (which has another meaning according to Classical dictionaries!).
  12. barkoosh Senior Member

    We also use طعج in our dialect, but its old meaning took me aback, so I avoided mentioning it.
  13. barkoosh Senior Member

    This is a war that never ends.

    Works for me :)
  14. Abu Talha Senior Member

    I see what you mean. As a foreigner, sometimes I forget that people have been using, and will need to use these words in real life. However, this was very interesting, even if only as a theoretical exercise.
    Me too, I guess, although I think I prefer هزم , if understood.

    There could be some link via وطئ <- نكح <- طعج ?

    Thanks, everyone, for all your help.
  15. Schem

    Schem Senior Member

    Najdi Arabic
    Guisseemi Arabic also uses بعج to mean "to dent", and it's conjugated accordingly.

    Edit: We also have عفط, the verb from معفوط, and it's more common than بعج and I think is closer in meaning as well.
  16. rayloom

    rayloom Senior Member

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    Yes. It might also indicate that the meaning in the dialects maybe even older than the Classical meaning.
  17. Paterimon Member

    Nashua, NH
    انطعج باب السيارة بسبب الحادث
    That's what we would spontaneously say in the area of Damascus.
    If this is understood in the other Arab countries, why not adopt it?
    MSA can grow into a pan-Arabic means of communication only if flexible.
    But that would lead us into a new thread...

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