Urdu: Arabic ـۃ to ـہ or ت: patterns; different meanings?


Senior Member

Arabic words ending in taa marbuutah ـۃ end with either ـہ or ت in Urdu.


  • What determines whether a word will end with ـہ or ت?
  • Do or can two forms exist and carry different meanings?
    • Is there a difference in usage/meaning between جمہوریہ and جمہوریت?
  • eskandar

    English (US)
    The short answer is that Arabic words ending with taa marbuuTa typically entered Urdu via Persian, and the endings the words wind up with in Persian are not generally predictable.*

    Two forms with different meanings can and do exist! Your last question is a good example, where in Urdu AFAIK جمہوریہ means 'republic' and جمہوریت means 'democracy'.

    *For the long answer, which reveals that there is indeed some rhyme and reason to the endings in Persian, you will have to read "Form and meaning in Persian vocabulary: the Arabic feminine ending" by John R. Perry, or at least read this review which may illuminate some things.


    Senior Member
    Persian (Cultural Language)
    • Do or can two forms exist and carry different meanings?

    Some more examples of such words in Urdu:
    رسالہ = magazine; رسالت = prophethood
    طریقہ = way; طریقت = the path of tasawwuf
    مراسلہ = letter, message; مراسلت = correspondence


    Senior Member
    Bengali (India)
    So, is it possible that the -at ending has acquired a more abstract meaning in Urdu/Persian, like English suffixes -hood, -ness, -ence, etc? The -a(h) ending may have come to represent more concrete objects.

    The interesting informal colloquial/slang Hindi (and Urdu?) coinage "boriyat" (i.e. boredom) seems to apply -iyat (an extension of the -at suffix?) to the English verb "bore". So, the -at (or rather -iyat) suffix may even be productive in modern Hindi/Urdu for forming abstract nouns.


    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^ I would say both forms are abstract. 3aqiidah and 3aqiidat, for example, are abstract and I can't see anything "concrete" in them.