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Etymological Dictionary of Arabic

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Click to Expand/Collapse OptionEtymArab
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baḥaṯ‑ بَحَثَ , a (baḥṯ )
ID 053 • Sw – • BP 676 • APD ... • Aut SG
vb., I
to look, search (ʕan for, seek (ʕan; to inquire (DO into; to do research ( on, in a fielt); to investigate, examine, study, explore (DO or ʕan, look into; to discuss (DO a subject, a question) – WehrCowan1979.
The original meaning of the root that today mostly means ‘to look for, search for, to research, investigate; to discuss’ is ‘to scrape, dig up (the earth), scratch’. Cognates of a similar meaning are attested in Can and Aram, and probably also in Akk, so that one can assume a ComSem etymon *baḥaṯ‑ ‘to scrape up, stir’.
eC7 baḥaṯa (to dig up, to scratch up) Q 5:31 fa-baʕaṯa ’ḷḷāhu ġurāban yabḥaṯu fī ’l-ʔarḍi ‘so God sent a raven scratching up the earth’.
▪ The extended meaning ‘to seek, search, investigate’ etc. that is so prominent in MSA, is however also in common use in ClassAr, cf. Lane, who has not only ‘to scrape (as one who seeks to find a thing therein) (namely, the dust, or earth)’ but also ‘to search, seek for/after in the dust, or earth; to search, inquire into, investigate, scrutinize’.
▪ The older value is still mentioned in Hava1899: baḥaṯa ‘to scrape (the earth)’ (alongside with baḥaṯa ʕan ‘to be in quest of, to search’, although it is no longer listed in Steingass1884, where only the meanings ‘mine’ and ‘large snake’ for the n. baḥṯ reminds of the earlier value.
baḥṯ : The only values given in Lane for the n. baḥṯ in ClassAr, besides that of a regular vn. I, are 1 ‘mine (in which one searches for gold and silver) and 2 ‘great serpent’ (because it scrapes up the dust or earth). These are now obsolete, and nominalizations of the vn., like ‘research’, and ‘research paper, study’, have taken over.
DRS 2 (1994)#BḤṮ/Š: Akk beḫāšu ‘mélanger (?)’1 , nHbr bāḥaš , JP Syr bᵉḥaš ‘agiter, remuer, rechercher, attiser’; Syr bᵉḥeš ‘se hâter’, bāḥūšā ‘spatule’; Talm bāḥᵃšā ‘cuiller à pot; cendres chaudes, ratissages’, biḥšā ‘creux de l’épaule’; Mand bḥaš ‘chercher, examiner’; nSyr bāḫiš , (m)berḫiš ‘agiter’, bāḫušā , bāḫüštā ‘cuiller à pot’; Ar baḥaṯa ‘gratter la terre, fouiller’; om. bḥš ‘creuser’, Syrie baḥaš ‘fouiller’....
1. Sens douteux. – But cf. CAD Akk (Ass) *beʔēšu , var. baʔāšu , beʔāšu , baḫāšu ‘to stir’.
▪ The original meaning in Ar is ‘to dig up, scrape ut the dust/earth’ (and search of This value is still attested in ClassAr (BadawiAbdElHaleem2008: ‘to rummage in the dust looking for, to claw the dust, to search, to seek information’), where it also produced derivatives such as buḥṯaẗ ‘a certain game (played in the dust, or earth), ʔibl baḥūṯ ‘camels that scrape up the dust, or earth, with their forefeet’, baḥṯ ‘mine (in which one searches for gold and silver); great serpent (because it scrapes up the dust or earth)’, baḥīṯ ‘secret (hidden in the dust and to be search for)’, buḥāṯaẗ ‘dust, earth (which is scraped up from what is searched for therein)’. The modern meanings are amplifications of the earlier usage.
▪ The root is also attested, with similar meanings, in Sem. DRS thinks that the nHbr vb. is from Aram; the remaining forms, however, are probably sufficient to assume a ComSem origin (although DRS thinks the meaning of the Akk vb. is doubtful). – For the whole complex, the reader in DRS is also asked to conform the references given s.v. #BD and #BṮ. Furthermore, DRS states that »cette racine semble être, du fait de contaminations diverses (en particulier par B/MḤN/R, P/BḎR) à la base de plusieurs autres racines surtout arabes qui témoignent en outre d’échanges entre consonnes homorganiques, v. BHNS(Š), BHŚ(Š), BḤṮR, BḪṮR, BʕḎR, BʕṮR, BĠẒR, BRḤŠ; comp. aussi PḤṢ, PḤṮ (et BQṮ?).« The corresponding crossreferences in EtymArab would be →BḤṮR, →BḪTR, →BʕṮR, and also →FḤṢ.
bāḥaṯa, vb. III, to discuss (DO with s.o., a question): assoc.
tabāḥaṯa, vb. VI, to have a discussion, discuss together; to confer, have a talk (maʕa with s.o., about): recipr.

BP#332baḥṯ, pl. buḥūṯ , ʔabḥāṯ , n., search (ʕan for), quest (ʕan of); examination, study; research; investigation, inquiry, examination; exploration; discussion; treatise; (pl. ʔabḥāṯ ) study, scientific report ( on): vn. I.
baḥḥāṯ, pl. ‑ūn , n., scholar, research worker: ints.
baḥḥāṯaẗ, n.f., eminent scholar: ints.
mabḥaṯ, pl. mabāḥiṯᵘ , n., subject, theme, field of investigation or discussion, object of research; research, study, examination; investigation: n.loc. | al-mabāḥiṯ al-ʕāmmaẗ ,, national inspection and controls (e.g., of drug traffic); secret police (Eg. )
BP#3403mubāḥaṯaẗ, pl. ‑āt , n., negotiation, parley, conference, talk, discussion: vn. III.
BP#1282bāḥiṯ, pl. ‑ūn , and buḥḥāṯ , n., scholar, research worker; examiner, investigator: PA I.
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