Urdu: words for wife and husband

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by lcfatima, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Who is the man of the khaavand? Also, please write the word khaavand for me in nastaliq for me and break down the morphemes if you will.
  2. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    I don't get your question Khawand is a man....

  3. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Oops, I thought khaawand is the wife. So who is the wife of the khaavand then?
  4. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    Is Khawatoon the female form?
    I am not sure. This is the only Urdu word I know that is similar to Khavand.
    Please correct me if I am wrong.
  5. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    <khavatiin> means women and is the plural for <khaatuun>. Don't know if that's the word you refer mean.
  6. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    Khaavand in Urdu mean husband... Khaatoon is more woman than wife...

    I guess we'll have to wait for faylasoof sb. to tell us what is the feminine equivalent of khaawand...

    I would myself vote for Begum a polite term for wife (although, etimologically, it is the feminine of Beg), I'm surprised that there are more words for the husband in Urdu than for the wife.. ????

    Miyâ.N > Bîwî
    Shohar > Khaatoon ????
    Khaawand > Begum ????

    Can any one correct this list
  7. lcfatima Senior Member

    In a teapot
    English USA
    Begum and badshah go together too, begum baghair badshah kis kaam ka?---I think that is in a deck of cards. But yes, it is the feminine of baig.

    Also, Khan and Khanum. They don't mean husband and wife of course, but I know some Khan men call their wives Khanum (my husband calls me begum, though).

    I think Khatoon goes with mard. I have heard people refer to a husband as "iska marad" (adding a second syllable to mard), which really means man, but the connotation is husband.
  8. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Wife- joru

    I don't know its pairing, though.
  9. Illuminatus Senior Member

    Mumbai, India
    India, Hindi, English, Marathi
    Hmm, there was a movie by the name Joru ka gulaam!
  10. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I was thinking of that one too.
  11. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Doostaan-e-‘azeez Iluminatus, Cilquiestsuens, lcfatima, panjabigator,

    I’ve been rather tardy and do apologize. Due to work pressure was not able to take part in this earlier. Hope you don’t mind if I reply to you all more or less together as many of your contributions are interconnected. Sorry if your names get jumbled around but will try to mention them where I can. .

    Illuninatus, Khaatoon = Bibi = Lady, but we do not use khaatoon to mean wife in Urdu so it won’t be used as the feminine equivalent of khaavand. This word is used quite normally instead of bibi to mean lady, e,g, woh ik bahut paakeezah khaatoon theeN = She was a very chaste woman / lady (funnily in English “chaste woman” would be enough, rather than using “lady” here which might seem something of an overkill to the English).

    The reason for using khaatoon in this way is perhaps entirely due to the usage of bibi itself, as below:

    The word bibi is used as a mark of respect so used to refer to one’s wife rather than the more literal biwi. But you can very often hear people use bibi and biwi interchangeably, sometimes even in the same sentence. These two can be used as:

    woh saahibah onki bibi / biwi hain (formal – very polite)
    [that lady is his wife]

    woh aurat oski bibi / biwi hai (informal – impolite)
    [ that woman is his wife]

    In fact, in the above context I’ve heard bibi a lot more than biwi!
    Interestingly, khaatoon is less used than its plural khawaateen. The latter is often paired with hazraat (plural of hazrat), as khawaateen o hazraat = ladies and gentlemen. Apart from this, khawaateen is also used by itself to mean “women in general”, in polite form, rather than aurteiN . So you may hear: khawaateen ki yeh yeh khusoosiyaat heiN = these are the characteristics of women = aurtooN ki yeh yeh khusoosiyaat heiN

    Both, bibi and khaatoon, are also specifically used in Urdu for revered / religious female figures. So in Urdu poetry and prose, the daughter of our prophet is always referred to as Bibi Fatimah and one of her titles is Khaatoon-e-Jannat. Here both words have an especially reverential usage, and mean respectively, Lady Fatimah and The Lady of Paradise.

    Cilquiestsuens, in middle and high register Urdu shauhar is much more common than khaavand, both words are of Farsi origin. Actually, the use of khaavand is more common amongst the Farsi speakers of Indo-Pak..
    BTW, you are right to say that “Khaatoon is more woman than wife”, as I explain above

    So, to complete your list:

    Miyâ.N <> Bîwî
    Shohar <> Bibi, Zaujah, Biwi
    Khaawand <> Bibi, Zaujah
    Saahab <> Saahiba, Bibi, Begum, Begum Saahiba
    Aagha = Agha <> Khaanam (really only for Farsi speakers)
    (..and of course, mard <> aurat)

    Lcfatima (and Cilquiestsuens), you are correct that begum is the feminine of baig / beg and khaanam is the feminine of khaan = khan. All of Turko-Mongol origin. In Urdu begum is used as I show above, and means Mrs. / wife.

    The use of marad = mard = man = husband, is only by the uneducated. That why I find it so odd when I hear the following Dutch sentences:

    Hij is mijn man = He is my man i.e.husband OR Zij is mijn vrouw = She is my woman i.e. wife. Well, they were mostly farmers until recently!!

    Panjabigator, I think in Urdu joru is not used. I certainly haven’t heard this from fellow speakers. But the word does get used by less educated people. I too remember that film

  12. Cilquiestsuens Senior Member

    I have word the word Joru in the following idiomatic expression (proverb?):

    Kaan pyaare to baaliyaa.N
    Joru pyaarii to saaliyaa.N
  13. Faylasoof Senior Member

    Plato's Republic
    English (UK) & Urdu (Luckhnow), Hindi
    Oh! I never said that it didn’t exist as such. I mean you just don’t hear it used in common speech. Use in proverbs or a simile is a different matter.

    So, you do not hear educated people say: aapki joru aur bachche khairiyat se hein?

    It’ll be more like: aapki ahliyah / bibi/ zaujah aur bachche khairiyat se hein?
    That exact choice of the Urdu word for wife will depend on whether the it is a formal or slightly less formal address.

    Correction: In my post above, I would prefer to use the phonetically more accurate “Shauhar’ rather than “Shohar” .

    BTW, I forgot to mention that another Urdu word for wife is ahliyah. In fact, it is used more than, say, zaujah. Good word!
  14. UrduMedium

    UrduMedium Senior Member

    United States
    Urdu (Karachi)
    Interesting thread. khaatuun is actually of Mongol (and later Turkic) origin. Many of the Mongol women of influence in history had this as part of their name (e.g. Toregene Khatun, Emperor Ogodie's queen). So, in a way Khan and Khaatuun go together. I believe, Khaanam is the Persianized form of Khaatuun, and also goes with Khan.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  15. Sheikh_14 Senior Member

    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    What would the masculine of ahliyah be any alliteration friendly word there? Btw is there one for Shah the king I.e. a feminine word rather than having to go for maha rani and the arabic malika?
  16. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    Sheikh SaaHib (agar aap buraa nah maaneN)..if there was a prize for a person who loves going off on a tangent, you must be the most worthy recipient!:)

    I don't know of a masculine equivalent for "ahliyah". Neither am I sure about the Persian word for a queen. "farziin" is the queen in chess. I have heard of "shaah-baano" but I can't be certain if it means a queen. I hope this has been helpful.
  17. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    No, there is definitely no masculine derivative from "ahliyah" in the sense of "female spouse". I don't really feel any need for it. Re. second part, I also have no qualms about choosing from the vast Urdu lexicon and saying malikah or mahaaraanii. I can even say sultaanah-e-Victoria. You would agree that both pairs maalik-maalikah and sultaan-sultaanah are quite similar (as you said, with "alliteration"). I think you are writing some piece of poetry that you need alliteration. Anyhow, for Urdu there are at least these two words which are similar but in English there is only one pair which is also not SO similar: emeror-empress. About the topic of this thread, in English you have identical word (more than alliteration) for both husband and wife but you can't know which is which. But if you really, really need such pair when both husband and wife have almost similar names in Urdu I advise you to go for "ghar waalaa- ghar waalii". 'shaah' is btw a special kind of "king" and there have been historically no female "shahs" to the best of my knowledge, so it is not necessary to forcibly coin one. However, there are some people who have "Shah" as their name. Then, it is normal to say "Shah SaaHib, Shah SaaHibah, Shah Begum.
  18. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    With permission to make another post for it is not in answer to the previous enquiry but to the whole of this thread, what hasn't been mentioned is the way wives often refer to their husbands in Urdu: by using the name of their child = x (Kishan, Ahmad) ke abbuu (my husband).

    Also to add to the previous posts where mard was mentioned, aadamii is also used, with the reservations made by F. SaaHib.
  19. Sheikh_14 Senior Member

    English- United Kingdom, Urdu, Punjabi
    Conventional usage aside begum is merely a mark of respect for a lady and indicates that she is being conferred a status. Thus would it be correct in assuming that it is the Urdu equivalent of "My lady"? Therefore apkii begum is your lady. Some women of high-rank prefix their names with begum, irregardless of their marital status. I know that begum is the feminine variant of beg but is the suffix um here killing two birds with one stone as a dimunitive and act of personalisation?

Share This Page