May 7, 2016

Names of the Undershirt

Ibn Khālawayh said: There are no names for the undershirt besides al-ṣudra, al-mijwal, al-baqīr, al-‘ilqa, al-shawdhar, al-ṣirār, al-qid‘a, al-itb, al-khay‘al and al-uṣda. All mean the same thing, which is "undershirt." And al-maḥjana (?) in Hebrew scripture is an undershirt which Moses wore, God’s blessings and peace be upon him and our Prophet.

[Qid‘a is related to the verbs qada‘a "to restrain a horse" and qadi‘a "to assume a fixed position." The latter is heard in the expression] Qadi‘at nafsī minka mudh zamān ("My soul has long been haltered, concerning you"). This means "My soul was deceived about you" and "My opinion of you was invalid," and "I did not form a judgment of your intelligence or stupidity, nor of your good and harmful qualities."

Al-mimashsh is a towelette, and so is al-mashūsh. [These words derive from the verb mashsha, meaning "to wipe the hands," as in the verse by Imru’ al-Qays, meter: ṭawīl]:

   Namushshu bi-a‘rāfi 'l-jiyādi akuffanā
       idhā naḥnu qumnā ‘an shiwā’in muḍahhabi


   Arising from a meal of roasted kid,
       we wipe our hands on the manes of fast horses.

From part 5 of The Book of "Not in the Speech of the Arabs"
by Ibn Khālawayh