'Tareeq': Arabic for road touches upon friendship and the trials of life

The word is infused with many of the symbols and metaphors associated with roads

The Arabic word for 'road' is tareeq.
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The road is an instrument of progress. It offers an escape, as well as an entry. Ahead is the desired future, in the rear-view mirror is the past and its anxieties.

The Arabic word for road, tareeq, is laced with many of its symbolisms. While it can signify streets and motorways, it can also allude to camaraderie, friendship, the trials of life and politics.

The plural of tareeq is turuq or turuqat, depending on context. Turuq al muwasalat are the modes of transport, whether by land, which is al bar, or air, al jaw, or sea, al bahr. Tareeq khas is a private-access road, as opposed to tareeq aam, which is one that is open to the public. Turuq ramliyya are dirt roads.

To wish someone a safe journey or a radiant day, you could say Allah yenawwer tareeqak. The saying is common across the Arab world, especially in the Levant, and translates to "May Allah light your path".

Ikhtibar al turuq is a road test — whether to check the performance of a vehicle or a driving licence examination.

If you want an insight into how something is done, you could ask shul tareeq? Qariaat al tareeq can refer to the sidewalk. However, to say something is fi qariaat al tareeq, can also mean that it is in the middle of the road. If someone cuts you off, you could say qataa al tareeq alei. This can also resonate on a metaphorical level and imply that someone prevented you from accomplishing something. Qutaa turuq, meanwhile, can refer to highway robbers.

Muftaraq al turuq refers to a fork in the road, a crossroads. It also has metaphorical connotations and can mean that it is time to make a decision. Tareeq masdood is a dead end. Afdal al turuq means the best way to do something. Turuq al mufawadat are the paths to negotiations. The expression is often used in the political sphere.

Masheyna hazihi al tareeq maan means a path walked together and implies a friendship of shared experiences. Finally, if you want to encourage someone to keep going and accomplish a given task, you could say inta/into binisf el tareeq, meaning they have already crossed the halfway point to their goal.

Scroll through the gallery below to see more of The National's picks for Arabic word of the week

Updated: November 04, 2022, 6:02 PM
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