Eleven words we love about Bangla | Stripe

ari1 t

আড়ি – Ari

An informal, often childishly temporary declaration of rivalry; the swiftest form of break-up amongst children or childhood friends. Of course, আড়ি can just as swiftly become null with ভাব (bhaab), which implies friendship, affection and a hint of love.

 

t tulonaheen

তুলনাহীন – Tulonaheen

Have you ever experienced or witnessed something that was beyond compare? A plate of tehari that stood matchless against all others? An unparalleled kind of love, or heartbreak?

 

topo

অপরাজিতা – Oporajita

Those who stand unconquered in the face of tragedy and struggle. From Dhaka traffic, to quizzes and exams, love and grief and that which makes us feel broken, the অপরাজিতা is still standing, undefeated, always.

 

t obhiman1

অভিমান – Obhiman

A haughty feeling of resentment resulting from a slight; the painfully human state of mind of being piqued.

অভিমান করা is to acutely but silently realise and feel one’s own pride, or a sadness, as a result of having being hurt or insulted by someone. This someone is usually a close family member or friend, from whom empathy is expected and felt to be deserved by the one who feels hurt.

 

t adda

আড্ডা – Adda

A place brought to life with the gathering (and active presence) of people, especially for social or festive purposes, often with no purpose at all.

Any place can metamorph into an আড্ডা in the presence of tea, chanachur and lively conversations. It happens in tea stalls by the street, on rickshaws in traffic, on rooftops after sunsets, and anywhere in between.

 

t krishnokoli

কৃষ্ণকলি – Krishnokoli

A dark-skinned beauty with dark deer-like eyes, dwelling in a field under black storm clouds. Her head is uncovered and her braids are unravelling.

A flower of the night, in Rabindranath’s haunting words. কৃষ্ণকলি is dark and wild, just as the storm clouds above and within her.

 

t kalboishkhai3

কালবৈশাখী – Kalboishakhi

Boishakh is the first month of the Bengali calendar, and these wild nor’westers are a defining part of our cultural identity. Accompanied by roaring thunderstorms and violent winds, the কালবৈশাখী is a force of nature.

It brings both destruction and life, often uprooting trees, roofs, and billboards, while nourishing the parched dry earth with heavy rains.

 

t shorbonash red

সর্বনাশ – Shorbonash

Chaos, ruin, or as Google dramatically puts it, a shipwreck; often exclaimed with hands clutched to our hearts. When a disaster shakes your very core, and you must express it just as dramatically as it is felt, scream out “সর্বনাশ!” to the universe.

 

t maya

মায়া – Maya

The burden of empathy; a pang of emptiness that comes with intense feeling, be it compassion, adoration or sadness. মায়া is “aww” meets “ouch,” something heartwarming, heartbreaking or just plain cute that moves us so deeply it hurts.

Ishh, maya maya lagchhe.

 

t sheye

সে – Sheye

That person, referring to a third person.

One of the most beautiful aspects to our language is how blind it is to gender. There is no he or she, or his or her.

Instead, there is ‘সে’, who can be of any gender, or ‘তার’ (tar), which is belonging to a person of any gender.

 

তুই – Tui

তুই simply means you.

A weapon of a word, তুই has an intensity and forcefulness as opposed to the more neutral তুমি (tumi).

But how does one pour all affection and adoration in the world into one word which plainly means ‘you’? As opposed to তুমি, তুই is reserved for the closest of friends and siblings, nieces and nephews, loved ones, and anyone who holds a piece of your heart.

Conversely, when said to a stranger, তুই is aggressive and insulting. It falls on the opposite side of the spectrum all too easily. So use it wisely.

 

We know we’ve missed out countless words which are both beautiful and untranslatable in many ways. Thus we urge you, dear reader, to comment below and share your favourite words and phrases.

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Zaian F. Chowdhury is an aspiring writer of words and taker of pictures, in an ambivalent relationship with Dhaka. She spends her free time dealing with existential crises, obsessing over dogs, and day-dreaming about travelling the world.

  • sundar

    I like to add one more which is “Khabar ase”.

    • Pen Muni

      Terrible choice. Also, its two words.

  • Christian

    I like the many echo words: ello-mello and ashe-pashe, but the weight of a word like ‘kosto’ on a troubled soul is matched only by the versatility of its use: kosto lagtse, kosto ase, kosto dilam, kosto koren and kono kosto nai etc. I think Bangla is a beautiful because it expresses the heart of its people.

  • Naushad Jamil

    সে রইল, তুই রইল, আমি কই? আমি-র চেয়ে প্রিয় শব্দ আর কি হতে পারে? আমি না থাকলে আর থাকে কি?