Waqaa: the Arabic word for fall has a lot of pull

It can signify a loss of power, stature, health and grace

Our Arabic word of the week means 'to fall' in English.

The gravity of waqaa is a force that pulls down more than mere mass.

Like its English counterpart, the Arabic word for fall can signify a loss of power, stature, health and grace. It can also be used in reference to a heavy burden or responsibility. Or even something alluring that catches your eye.

But first, the basics.

If an object falls out of your hand, you could say waqaat min eedi. Someone loses their step and falls? Waqaa or waqaat, depending on whether the person is male or female. If you’re the person who's falling? The verb becomes waqaatu.

Falling to the ground? Waqaa/waqaat/waqaatu ala el ard. In the shower? Fil hammam. In a trap? Fil fakh. In love? Fil hob.

If a person you thought highly of does something that doesn’t meet your expectations of them, you could say waqaa/waqaat min eini, which literally translated to “he/she fell from my eye”.

If it’s your eye falling on someone or something, you could say waqaat eini aleih/aleiha, which, like in English, means they caught your attention.

A person who falls sick and is bedridden: waqaa/waqaat/waqaatu fil sareer. Someone burdened by responsibility? Waqaa taht hamlen thaqeel. Falling into debt? Waqaa tahta al diyoon.

For a person who lands the right job, you could say waqaa fi mowqe munaseb, or, on the contrary, ma waqaa fi mowqe munaseb.

If a person dies in war then waqa’a fil harb. For a city overtaken by military force, you could say waqa’at el madine athnaa el harb.

A guilty person punished for their crimes? Waqaa el ukube ala el muznib. A difficult experience? Waqaa fi tajribe saaba. Arrested by the police? Waqaa fi qabdat al shurta. Tragedy befalls you? Waqaat musiba.

Curious to see how someone received a bit of news? Kaif waqaa il khabar aleih/aleiha?

And finally, we conclude with a maxim: la tahfor hufratan li akheek taqa feehi, or don’t dig a hole for your brother — you’ll fall in.

Updated: March 04, 2022, 6:02 PM