1. مر هر Member


    Anyone knows if the Urdu word Ghariib (poor) has any connection with Arabic Gharb (West)?
    If so, it has something to do with the fact that the people west of Pakistan are Afghans and Persians?

  2. ancalimon Senior Member

    It's "garip" in Turkish. It entered Turkish from Arabic. We also sometimes use "gariban". It means miserable, pathetic, wretched, poor. It also means someone miserable living in a foreign country.

    It also means "weird".

    I thought Arabic Gharb was related to Turkic gara (black, dark) & garanlık (darkness).

  3. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Arabic gharb غرب means west.
    The word gharib غريب means stranger or foreigner. It doesn't have the connotation of "poor" in Arabic, but I can understand that a traveller/foreigner may be deemed poor after going through hardships during his travels. But, again, the "poor" notion is not inherent in the Arabic usage.
  4. origumi Senior Member

    Rajki's Etymological Dictionary says the same about foreigner, but silent about poor:
  5. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Interesting discussion! غریب is indeed ماخوذ /derived from Arabic. The Online Urdu Dictionary has 7 entries about the word:

    اسم نکرہ ( واحد )
    جمع: غُرَبا [غُرَبا] Plural: Ghurabaa
    جمع غیر ندائی: غَرِیبوں [غَربی + بوں(مجہول)] Plural (descriptive?): Ghareebon--of/realted to

    1. مسافر، پردیسی، اجنبی، بے وطن
    musafir-traveller, pardesi-foreigner, ajnabi-stranger, be-watan-without a homeland (foreigner)

    2. مراد: مفلس، نادار، محتاج، بے سرد سامان
    murad/intended meaning: muflis-poor, muhtaaj-dependent, nadaar-without any property/ money/ things;

    3. مَجازا: بےکس، بیچارہ، مجبور
    Majaaz-an/figuratively or metaphorically: without power/authority, bechaarah-without options/treatment/way;

    4. مسکین، عاجز، بے ضرر، بے زبان، سیدھا مادا، جو شریر نہ ہو۔
    Maskeen-poor/hungry/etc.; ........jo shareer nah ho- one who is not evil/bad/corrupt/wicked.....but also can be used for........naughty/flirtatious

    5. نادر، عجب، انوکھا، اچنھبے والا
    all these words could be translated into English as unique, wonderful, astonishing etc.

    6. نامانوس، جسکا استعمال کم ہو بالخصوص لفظ۔
    naa-maanos- not familiar; jiska ista'maal kam ho bil kahsoos lafz-that which is used little (not frequently), especially word(s);

    7. اصول حدیث ] وہ حدیث جسکا راوی ایک ہو یا سلسلہ سنا دیں جسے کسی ایک راوی سے دوسرے راوی کو اور دوسرے سے تیسرے راوی تک پہنچایا گیاہو۔
    Hadees/Hadeeth: such a Hadeeth that has one ravi or.....??? (not sure)

    انگریزی ترجمہ : Angrezi tarjuma: English translation:
    A foreigner, a stranger

    As you can see, that the dictionary lists pretty much the same meaning given for Arabic. However, it is definitely used in modern Urdu to mean-poor...for some reason:)-even though other words exist. The guess that Cherine makes could be a possible reason that the word has acquired the meaning of "poor" in Urdu....
    For the opposite-rich......اَمِیر/ ameer is used; plural: اُمَرا/ umaraa- which interestingly means a commander, lord, noblemen, grandee, but also rich/elite!
  6. مر هر Member

    thanks for the answers... they are very helpful :)
    but I thought that maybe the word kept it Arabic meaning "west" but became "poor" to refer in someway to the people west from Pakistan (lol, I have no idea if the west portion or countries of Pakistan are poor or not...)

    do you have any thoughts on the matter?

    salams :)
  7. aruniyan Senior Member


    I think it can be from the root... "Cannot be gained" so it can be "Black/Poor/Wretched"

    Karuppu("Black" in Tamil), Kari(Charcoal, Burnt)
    Gray (English)?
  8. Jabir

    Jabir Senior Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    Hum, I still believe it is from Arabic, because it is common in Arabic language to transform a noun into a adjective by adding an long "i" after the second letter of the root...

    but thanks for your suggestion :)
  9. aruniyan Senior Member

    I didn't mean its not from Arabic.
  10. Alfaaz Senior Member

    As Cherine said above, غرب and مغرب mean "west" in Arabic and Urdu (East would be مشرق by the way) . Not sure about the theroy presented about countries being poor or rich, as there are many neighbors. Some are poor and others are rich...
  11. مر هر Member

    I'm still very intersted to find out how "west" became "poor" - I see no relation between these words - all that I could figure out was what I've said... but as far as I know, Pakistan was conquered by Persians, so I don't believe Urdu speaking people would call Persians "poor" at the time the language was formed...
  12. aruniyan Senior Member


    May be denoting the western deserts.?
  13. relativamente Senior Member

    catalan and spanish
    This words is undoubtely arabic, but what is not at all clear is that ghariib (strange) derives from Gharb (west).The adjective from west meaning western is gharbiy. In the East of Spain where there are some words that come from Arabic the word garbí is used for wind from west.At least I remember my father using this word many times.
  14. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    I don't know how the meaning changed either, but I need to make this correction: it's not from "west" غرب, it's from "stranger" غريب, even though the two come from the same root, but they're still different words.
  15. مر هر Member

    Well, cherine, I somehow can see a relation between the two Arabic words. Maybe because travellers in the old days were deemed to be from the west and therefore strangers? still not sure, though
  16. rayloom

    rayloom Senior Member

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    *WARNING: Contains speculations"

    For the Arabic meanings, and given that the verb غرب gharaba in Arabic also means "to part", I can imagine 2 possible derivations:

    The verb غرب "to part" is derived from "west", in probably the same sense that the sun sets (parts) in the end of the day.
    -As such, ghariib غريب is a person who parts from his home(land), thus a stranger.

    The verb غرب "to part", might have been quite ancient, and that it came to be used with the sun, which seemingly parts in the end of the day, towards the west.
    (such a usage should have occured quite early on in the history of Semitic languages, since غرب gharb (cognates for that matter all meaning "west") occur in most of, if not all, the Semitic languages)

    (It would be interesting to know if this verb occurs with this meaning in other Semitic languages, might make possibility (2) more plausible)

    As to why it came to mean "poor" in Urdu, it might have been because strangers were mostly viewed as poor(er) than the rest. Or most of the poor were foreign people.

    End of speculations!
  17. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Very interesting opinions have been presented! Another possibility/wild guess: The poor could be "strangers" to money/rich...? Just as اُمَرا Umaraa is used for the rich/elite, when it actually means commander, lord, noblemen, grandee, etc. The rich are usually in power while the poor are treated as strangers/foreigners...regardless of country, continent;

    As listed above from the dictionary definitions, Ghareeb can also be used with other meanings as well:
    This definition is the one being discussed: traveler, foreigner;

    It can also be used in a sentence like: Why are you pretending that you are in love with that غریب boy? He is so innocent, and you are making a fool of him / taking advantage of him / just flirting with him!
    • In this sentence غریب means something more like-innocent, plain and simple, someone who isn't tricky, treacherous, deceiving...
    It is also used in sentences like: Today I went to the museum and saw something very عجیب و غریب (interesting, astonishing, unique, wonderful, awe-inspiring)- a room without gravity!
    • In such a sentence, عجیب و غریب doesn't really mean poor, but one could say that it means "foreign" in the sense that is was never seen before....
  18. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Don't mean to go off topic, but:

    Is the word "Ghareeb" used in religous contexts in Arabic? In terms of حدیث ? If so, what does it mean?

    Speaking of "ghareeb", another word that might have some ambiguity is: faqeer فَقِیر (عربی

    Which has all of the following meanings: a poor man; a beggar; a religious mendicant; a dervish; an ascetic, a devotee;

    In common everyday speech it is used both to refer to beggars, but also very religious people usually related to Sufism/tasawwuf/
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  19. مر هر Member

    does faqeer is also present in Urdu with the same meaning of Ghareeb?
    as far as I know, Faqeer comes from the Turkmen - which might be also the common-origin of Ghareeb?
  20. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    فقير is a perfectly Arabic word. In Arabic, it means "poor" and, in the context of sufism, it's used to mean a sufi/dervish, ascetic.
    The two words فقير and غريب seem to have close meaning (the one regarding "poor"), but this is not the case in the "original" Arabic words. But this is very common in loan words; they acquire new meanings in the languages that borrow them.
  21. Alfaaz Senior Member

    No not necessarily; As the dictionary definitions suggest and Cherine also says above, it can mean poor but also dervaish/a very religious person, usually in the context of Sufism...; also it is from عربی/Arabic.

    Dont mean to be redundant, but would someone perhaps have an answer for the following...?

    As mentioned/tried to demonstrate in post 17, words in/from Arabic, Persian, and Urdu sometimes seem to have a variety of meanings depending on context (religious, poetry, everyday speech, etc.)...:)
  22. rayloom

    rayloom Senior Member

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    In the context of Hadith narration, check here.
  23. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Thanks for the link rayloom!

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