How are the words حياء and استحياء related?



  • Arabic words come in families.
  • If two words have the same root letters they are from the same family.
  • Different members are made by repeating a root letter or adding additional non-root letters. This either changes or emphasises the meaning of words.
  • The word حياء and استحياء are from the same family as they share ح ي ي as root letters: حياء , استحياء (Tip: the second ي has changed into a ء)
  • Adding three extra non-root
    ا س ت can emphasise the meaning, as in this case. If استحياء means “shyness”, can you guess what حياء means? (See below)




  • Answer: Both words mean “shyness” – but استحياء has a stronger meaning i.e. حياء  shyness v  استحياء
    shyness – in English we can use bold type  to show emphasis .