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Shabd-Vichaar: the study of Hindi etymology

How much do you know about the classification of Hindi words based on their meaning, origin and construction

Shabd-Vichaar: Etymology

A group of meaningful sounds made by combining letters is called a word.  Etymology (शब्द विचार) is the study of words’ history, their origins as well as modification in their forms and meanings. Ever wondered, where the words that we speak or write come from? What were their origins? How were they formed? Well, to answer this, we can say that there are some words which are borrowed from Sanskrit and other foreign languages and some came into existence through vernacular use. 

Here we will focus on the classification of Hindi words based on their meaning, origin and construction.


Based on Meaning (अर्थ के आधार पर)

On the basis of meaning, words can be categorized as:

Saarthak Shabd सार्थक शब्द (meaningful words) - Words which have a definite meaning are called meaningful words.

Example: पर्वत (mountain), बगीचा (garden)

Meaningful words can be divided into many parts like synonyms, antonyms, singular, plural etc.

Nirarthak Shabd निरर्थक शब्द (meaningless words) - Words which have no meaning are called meaningless words like धोती-वोती (dhoti-voti), रोटी- शोटी (roti-shoti).

Here voti, shoti have no meaning. Hence, they are ‘meaningless’ words


Based on Origin (उत्पत्ति के आधार पर)

On the basis of origin there are five different types of words:

Tatsam shabd तत्सम शब्द (Similar words/Derived words) - words derived from the Sanskrit language and are used in their original form.

Example: दुग्ध (milk), पुष्प (flower)

Tadbhav Shabd तद्भव शब्द (modified words) - words which were originally from the Sanskrit language but are used in a modified form.

Example: दुग्ध से दूध (milk), अग्नि से आग (fire)

Deshaj Shabd देशज शब्द  (Indeginous words) - words adopted in Hindi language from local dialects. These words came into existence through vernacular use.

Example: झाड़ू (broom), पगड़ी (turban)

Videshi Shabd विदेशी शब्द (Foreign words) - Those words which have foreign origins and used in Hindi as loan words.

Example: school, doctor, machine, pencil (from English language)

               kaagaz, khoon, hazaar, bazaar (from Arabic-Persian language)

              almirah, godaam, saabun, paadri (from Portuguese language)

Check our blog ‘Hindi words of foreign origin’ to know more about loanwords.

Sankar Shabd संकर शब्द (Hybrid words) - New words formed by combining two different languages ​​are called hybrid words.

Example: लाठी (Hindi)+ चार्ज (English) = लाठीचार्ज,  छाया (Hindi)+ दार (Persian) = छायादार

Based on Construction (बनावट के आधार पर)

There are three distinctions of words on the basis of construction

Roodh shabd रूढ़ शब्द (Elementary words) - Those words which become famous for a certain meaning are called elementary words. These words cannot be divided and if divided will not make any sense.

Example: घोडा (horse), लड़का (boy), सूर्य (sun)

Yaugik Shabd यौगिक शब्द (Compound words) - words which are made of one or more than one words are known as compound words.

Example: देशभक्ति (patriotism) = देश + भक्ति,  भोजनालय (restaurant) = भोजन + आलय

Yogroodh Shabd योगरूढ़ शब्द (Combined words) - These words consist of two or more words, but their meanings deviate from their literal meaning and represent a person or thing from a common culture.

Example: गिरिधर (Lord Krishna) = गिरि (Mountain) + धर (Carrier)

32 names of goddess Durga with meanings

Learn: the thirty-two names of Mother Durgā and their meanings

The Thirty-two names of Mother Durgā


Deepawali diwali diya in flower rangoli

Deepawali or Diwali?

It is that time of the year again 🪔

The air is filled with the vibrant spirit of Deepawali. …

by Aarti Pathak