Another post in our ‘verbs I might have known’ series (طلع/نزل, بدو, اجى, زبط) s about flexible, useful and common verbs that you probably know but might not realise the true power of. This week’s entry is on قعد 2a3ad, literally ‘sit’.
As usual, let’s get the different dialect forms out of the way first. All dialects allow 2a3ad in the past tense, although some North Levantine speakers may have 2ə3ed instead. The present tense form for everyone has o. In North Levantine this means yə23od, and in South Levantine yu23od with the vowel harmony talked about here.
South Levantine has a regular imperative: 2u23od, -i, -u. For some North Levantine speakers the imperative is regular too (according to the NL rules): 23ood, 23ədi, 23ədu. But the hamze is usually dropped, producing the irregular form 3ood, 2ədi, 2ədu.
The maSdar is قعود 23uud or occasionally (for some speakers) قعدان 2a3adaan.
The most literal meaning is ‘sit down’, from which the participle 2aa3ed means ‘sitting’:
انتو وين قاعدين؟
2intu ween 2aa3diin?
Where are you sitting?
From this we get the noun of instance قعدة 2a3de meaning ‘way of sitting’:
قعدتو معجبتنيش, قعدة زعران
2a3edto ma3ajbatniish. 2a3det zu3raan (P)
I didn’t like the way he was sitting [= his way of sitting]. It’s a no-good way of sitting [= a gangsters’ 2a3de]
قعدة can also mean a gathering or a face-to-face discussion (‘a sitting’):
عملنا قعدة صغيرة بالبيت
3milna 2a3de zghiire bilbeet (P)
We had a little gathering at home
هالقصة بدا قعدة
hal2əSSa bədda 2a3de (L)
This is something that needs a face-to-face discussion (needs us to sit down and talk about it)
It can also mean the atmosphere/vibe in a place (literally what it’s like to sit/hang around there):
القعدة هنيك كتير حلوة
əl2a3de huniik ktiir 7əlwe (S)
The atmosphere/vibe there is very nice
القعدة بالبيت بتزهق
il2a3de bilbeet bitzahhe2 (P)
Hanging around/sitting at home is boring
It’s very common to say قاعدين (literally ‘we’re sitting [around]’) to mean ‘we’re hanging around’ (at a place where sitting is involved):
هينا قاعدين, بس تفضى تعال
hayyna 2aa3diin. bass tifDa ta3aal (P)
We’re just hanging here. As soon as you’re done come!
لك وين رايح يا زلمة قاعدين!
lak 2ənte ween raaye7 yaa zalame 2aa3diin! (S)
Where are you going, man? We’re hanging out here!
Note also that قعد is often used to mean ‘sitting around [doing nothing]’ in combination with a 7aal:
قاعد عم يلعب بديلو
2aa3ed 3am yəl3ab bdeelo
Sitting around twiddling his thumbs [= playing with his tail] (one of various ruder alternatives)
Note also the combination with another imperative, which although literal is not idiomatic in English:
عود كول معنا
3ood kool ma3na (S)
Come and eat with us! [= to someone who’s just arrived]
The causative قعّد can of course mean ‘make/let someone sit down’:
بس فات ع المكتب قعدوه عالكرسي
bass faat 3almaktab 2a33aduu 3alkursi (P)
As soon as he came in they sat him down on the chair
It can also have a connotation of ‘kept me sitting around’:
قعدوني شي ساعة قبل ما فوتوني لعدنو
2a33aduuni nəSS saa3a 2abəlma fawwatuuni la3əndo (S)
They made me sit around for half an hour before they let me in to see him
Note the causative can have a ‘with’ meaning (like la33ab ‘play with’, 2arra ‘read with’ etc):
قومي قعدي ستك شوي
2uumi 2a33edi sittek shwayy (P)
Go and sit with your grandma for a bit
Specifically, ‘stay’ in the sense of ‘a stay somewhere’:
قديش بدك تقعد بالقدس؟
2addeesh biddak tu23od bil2uds? (P)
How long are you going to stay in Jerusalem?
انت وين قاعد بالزبط؟
2inta ween 2aa3ed bizzabT? (J)
Where are you staying exactly?
This form also has a causative meaning ‘let someone stay’, etc:
قعدناه عنا لبين ما لقى بيت
2a33adnaa 3ənna labeen ma la2a beet (S)
We let him stay with us/hosted him until he found a house
قعد is often combined with a continuous form, especially in the participle. This should not be understood as meaning literally sitting:
قاعدين عم يقصفو المدن
2aa3diin 3am yə2Səfu lmədon (S)
They’re bombarding the cities [= sitting and bombarding]
قاعد عم احكي مع حيط انا
2aa3ed 3am 2a7ki ma3 7eeT 2ana (P)
It’s like I’m talking to a brick wall [= I’m sitting talking to…]
‘Go around Xing’
Used as an auxiliary قعد can also imply repeated but also unreasonable action:
يلي بصلي الجمعة ويلي بصلي الاحد قاعد يفلح فينا على طول الجمعة
yalli biSalli jjəm3a wyalli biSalli l2a7ad 2aa3ed yəfla7 fiina 3ala Tool əjjəm3a (L)
The ones who pray on Friday and the ones who pray on Sunday give us a hard time all week long
tu23udesh tiTTallab! (P)
Don’t go around demanding things!
قاعد لا شغلة ولا عملة 2aa3ed laa shaghle wala 3amle ‘sitting around with nothing to do’
الدنيا قايمة قاعدة iddunya/əddənye 2aayme 2aa3de ‘everything’s very chaotic’
قامت القيامة وما قعدت 2aamet/2aamat li2yaame w maa 2a3det/2a3dat ‘absolute chaos broke out’