Verb Classes

Egyptian verb classes are traditionally labeled using abbreviations of Latin phrases describing the number and nature of their radicals.

The following table shows the classes of verbs, with examples of them, and notes on whether they can have geminated stems. (Note that the “-gem” classes are verbs where the base stem is geminated; the question is do they form a stem that is even further geminated from that.)

ClassMeaningGeminated stem?Example
Two radicals (“AB”).Yesḏd “say”
(second weak)
Two radicals, with the second one being j. These verbs usually behave like 2-lit verbs and are not always considered a separate class, but none are known to geminate.Nokj “cry out”
(second geminated)
Three radicals, second and third identical (“ABB”). They can be written “AB”, which is always the base stem (but with the consonants together like *qabba), or they can be written “ABB”, which could be the base stem with consonants apart (*qabab) or the geminated stem, with three copies of the second radical but in two groups (*qababba).Yesqbb “cool off, calm down”
Three different radicals (“ABC”). A few 3-lit verbs have the weak j or w as the third radical but are nevertheless “strong”, but those do not form a geminated stem.Yes
(except where third radical is j/w)
sḏm “hear”
(third weak)
Three different radicals, last one j (or rarely w). Yes
(apart from a few)
šnj “encircle”
(third geminated)
Four radicals, but the fourth is the same as the third (“ABCC”).Nošpss “be noble, ennoble”
Four radicals. Most look like reduplicated biliterals (“ABAB”); some do not (“ABCD”). Some of the reduplicated ones have j for both the second and fourth radical, and in such cases, they are usually written with the second one omitted so they appear to have the pattern “AAj“.Nohbhb “knead”
(fourth weak)
Four different radicals, last one j. There’s a subcategory which form geminated stems, and a subcategory which do not, and those subcategories behave differently from each other in some situations.Some yes,
more often no
wdfj “be late, delay”
Five radicals. All of them are reduplicated from 3-lit or 3ae-inf roots (“ABCBC”, “ABjBj“). In meaning, most are an emphatic or extended version of the corresponding triliteral.Noꜣḫfḫf “blaze, be fiery” (of the eyes)
caus. 2-lit.Causatives of biliterals.Nosḏd “cause to be said, recount”
caus. 2ae-gem.Causatives of second geminates. Like those, their final radical may or may not appear in a given instance.Nosgnn “cause to be soft, soften”
caus. 3-lit.Causatives of triliterals.Nosmnḫ “cause to be effective”
caus. 3ae-inf.Causatives of third weaks. Yessḏwj “slander”
caus. 4-lit.Causatives of quadriliterals. These are only known to come from reduplicated 4-lits, not from non-reduplicated ones.Nosmnmn “cause to quake”
caus. 4ae-inf.Causatives of fourth weaks. Nosmꜣwj “renew”
caus. 5-lit.Causatives of quinquiliterals.Nosnšmšm “sharpen”