'Najm': Arabic word for star glimmers with ambition, fame and the night sky

Our Arabic word of the week becomes najme in feminine form and nujoom in plural

The Arabic word of the week means 'star' for the night sky and cosmos, but also has plenty of other meanings.

Najm is a word that glimmers with celebrity and the cosmos.

The Arabic word for star, najm, becomes najme in feminine form and nujoom in plural.

An astrology expert or a person who claims to predict the future by reading the stars is known as Al Munajjem.

Najm qutb al shimali is Polaris or the North Star. Umm al nujoom, which literally translates to the mother of the stars, is the galaxy.

Najm/najmet cinemai/cinemaiyye is a star of the silver screen. Najm/najmet al masrah is a star of the theatre. Najm/najmet ghinaa is a singer or pop star.

Faqada/faqadat najmatahu/najmatuha can be said of someone who loses their celebrity status, stature or fame.

Taalaqa najmahu can be said of someone who achieves something great.

Najm el hafle is the centre of a party.

A comet is a najm zu zanab, literally a star with a tail.

Astrology is ilm al nujoom, or science of the stars.

Starfish is najm el bahr, the star of the sea.

Najm can also refer to a police or military ranking, signifying the stars that decorate.

epaselect epa06928342 A long exposure image shows Stars revolving around the North Star during a 'Night of falling stars' on the Col de la Givrine (Givrine Pass), near Saint-Cergue, Switzerland, early 05 August 2018. Astronomers expect the peak of this year's Perseids meteor shower between the 11th and 13th of August although the Perseids usually can be seen in a clear night sky between mid-July and mid-August when particles and debris of its cloud interact with or burn in the earth's atmosphere.  EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

This week’s Arabic word of the week provides an opportunity to explore the names of a few constellations, too. The UAE satellite Thurayya was titled after the Arabic name for the Pleiades constellation. The constellation in the northern sky, Ursa Major, also known as the Greater Bear, is known as Ad-Dubb Al-Akbar.

Al Ghorab, or the raven, is the Corvus constellation. In Babylonian culture, the group of stars in the southern sky was representative of Adad, god of rain, because they’d rise as a precursor to spring rains. Ad-Dulfin, or the dolphin, refers to the Delphinus constellation. Located in the northern sky, the constellation alludes to the dolphin, which the sea god Poseidon sent to find his future wife, Amphitrite, goddess of the sea.

Finally, a saying: “Ibqa ainaika ala al nujoom wa qadamayka ala al ard” — look towards the stars but keep your feet on the ground.

Updated: May 06, 2022, 6:02 PM
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