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Issaqbaazi / Ishqbaazi Meaning and the Multiple Spellings | इसकबाजी / इसकबाज़ी / इश्क़बाज़ी

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Too many spellings, to begin with. So let me start there.

The word, in Urdu, which is closer to the origin, would be ishqbaazi (or ishqbazi, इश्क़बाज़ी in devanagari). It's made of इश्क़, love, and -बाज़ी, which often is a suffix which makes a noun, meaning 'to do' the thing that it's added to. Baazi also means a turn in a game, but I'm not entirely sure if both the things have the same origin, though by usage it looks like they may have.

Thus, the meaning of ishqbaazi is 'love' only, (just the way dhokhebaazi would mean deception, which is pretty much the same as dhokha). The meaning of the word in the dictionary I have is 'flirtation'. Though, I'd expand ishqbaazi a little further, as 'to do things related to this thing that love is'.

The word is often spoken in a UP-Bihar version where the 'q/क़' sound turns into 'k/क' sound, the 'z/ज़' sound turns into 'j/ज', and the 's/स्' sound turns into a 'sa/स' (or simply, adds a schwa to the 's' sound), thus giving इसकबाजी, spelled closely in English as isakbaaji or isakbaji.

However, in the song issaqbaazi of Zero, while the word is sung as this UP-Bihar version, close to iskbaaji or sometimes isaqbaaji, they spell it as issaqbaazi, with a q, z, and an extra s.

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