'Ajwaa'a': The Arabic word for atmosphere can also describe mood

It is expected that during the Eid holidays, the ajwaa’a will be celebratory and joyful

Ajwaa'a is the Arabic word for atmosphere. The National
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In The Fall of the House of Usher, first published in 1839, American writer Edgar Allan Poe writes: “I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow.”

The popular short story is a work of Gothic fiction. This genre of literary writing relies on creating a haunting mood of fear and suspense through details from both the physical and supernatural world, as well as in the moods of the character and the style of writing.

Poe uses the word “atmosphere” to not only suggest a state within a scenario, but something that is also tangible that the character is able to breathe in. This double function of the word follows the general definition of this week’s Arabic word of the week, in its classic and colloquial use.

Ajwaa'a is a noun as well as the plural of the singular word jaow.

Made up of the two Arabic letters geem and waw, jaow is defined as the air around us in any context, both indoors or outdoors. It is the space between the sky and the earth, while also describing whatever is above and around any singular person or object.

Such a broad and yet specific definition for the word jaow naturally lends itself to a variety of meanings that are also connected to each other.

The word jaow is often used in reference to the physical weather. For example, the jaow can be cold, hot, humid or fresh.

This meaning of jaow in Arabic also extends to different references connected to the physical atmosphere, in particular to the air and sky. For example, defaa’a al jawwe means air force, khoutout al jawweya are the airways and arsaad al jawwiya is the scientific knowledge and study of weather.

Jaow can also refer to very specific large, physical spaces. For example the word jewa, derived from jaow, describes the space between structures such as homes or the space between valleys.

While ajwaa'a is the plural of the word jaow, it also has its own distinct meaning.

In classical Arabic, it can refer to the weather or the physical space in the sky but can also reference emotional mood or atmosphere. This particular meaning is the one most often used in colloquial Arabic across dialects.

Ajwaa’a in Arabic combines the meanings of both mood and atmosphere as they are understood in English.

It is a reference to the ambience that is created by the weather, architecture, a work of art or even a set of colours.

It can also refer to the mood of a gathering or party, the general mood in someone’s home or the emotional state of a person or a group of people. For example, it is expected that during the Eid holidays, the ajwaa’a will be celebratory and joyful.

In general, ajwaa'a is the overall feeling or tone an individual can be receptive to when they enter a particular space.

Updated: April 12, 2024, 6:02 PM