- The primary meaning of abhi is that of taking possession and mastering, as contained in E. coming by and over-coming, thus literally having the function of facing and aggressing = towards, against on to, at (see II.1a and b) mastering = over, along over, out over, on top of (see II. 1.b).
- Out of this is developed the fig. meaning of increasing, i.e., an intensifying of the action implied in the verb (see III. 1) Next to saṃ-it is the most frequent modification preflx in the meaning of “very much, greatly” as the first part of a double-prefix cpd. (see III. 2), and therefore often seemingly superfluous, i.e., weakened in meaning, where the second part already denotes intensity as in abhi-vi-ji (side by side with vi-ji), abhi-ā-kkhā (side by side with ā-kkhā), abhi-anu-mud (side by side with anu-mud). In these latter cases abhi shows a purely deictic character corresponding to Ger. her-bei-kommen (for bei-kommen) E. fill up (for fill); e.g. , abbhatikkanta (= ati ˚ C.) abbhatīta (“vorbei gegangen”), abbhantara (“with-in” b-innen or “in here”), abbhudāharati, abhipūreti (“fill up”) etc. (see also II. 1.c).
II. Lit. Meaning
As single pref.:
- against to, on to, at-, viz., abbhatthangata gone towards home abhighāta striking at, ˚jjhā think at, ˚mana thinking on ˚mukha facing, turned towards, ˚yāti at-tack, ˚rūhati ascend ˚lāsa long for, ˚vadati ad-dress, ˚sapati ac-curse, ˚hata hit at.
- out, over, all around: abbhudeti go out over ˚kamati exceed, ˚jāti off-spring, ˚jānāti know all over ˚bhavati overcome, ˚vaḍḍhati increase, ˚vuṭṭha poured out or over, ˚sandeti make over-flow, ˚siñcati sprinkle over
- abhi has the function of transitivising intrs. verbs after the manner of E. be-(con-) and Ger. er-, thus resembling in meaning a simple Caus. formation, like the foll.: abhigajjati thunder on, ˚jānāti “er-kennen” ˚jāyati be-get, ˚tthaneti = ˚gajjati, ˚nadati “er tönen”, ˚nandati approve of (cp. anerkennen), ˚passati con-template, ˚ramati indulge in, ˚ropeti honour, ˚vuḍḍha increased, ˚saddahati believe in.
As base in compn. (2nd part of cpd.) abhi occurs only in combn. sam-abhi (which is however, of late occurrence and a peeuliarity of later texts, and is still more freq. in BSk.: see under sam-).
III. Fig. Meaning (intensifying).
A single pref. abhikiṇṇa strewn all over, ˚jalati shine forth, ˚jighacchati be very hungry, ˚tatta much exhausted, ˚tāpa very hot ˚toseti pleuse greatly, ˚nava quite fresh, ˚nipuṇa very clever, ˚nīla of a deep black, ˚manāpa very pleasant ˚mangaly very lucky, ˚yobbana full youth, ˚rati great liking, ˚ratta deep red, ˚ruci intense satisfaction, ˚rūpa very handsome (= adhika-rūpa C.), ˚sambuddha wide and fully-awake, cp. abbhuddhunāti to shake greatly (adhikaṃuddh˚ C.)
■ As 1st part of a prep-cpd. (as modification-pref.) in foll. combinations: abhi-ud (abbhud-˚ati, ˚anu, ˚ava, ˚ā, ˚ni, ˚ppa, ˚vi, ˚saṃ. See all these s. v. and note that the contraction (assimilation before vowel) form of abhi is abbh˚
■ On its relation to pari see *pari*˚, to ava see ava˚.
IV. Dialectical Variation
There are dial. variations in the use and meanings of abhi. Vedic abhi besides corresponding to abhi in P. is represented also by ati˚; adhi˚; and anu˚; since all are similar in meaning, and psychologically easily fused and confused (cp. meanings abhi = on to, towards; ati = up to and beyond; adhi up to, towards, over; anu = along towards). For all the foll. verbs we find in Pāli one or other of these three prefixes. So ati in ˚jāti, ˚pīḷita, ˚brūheti, ˚vassati, ˚vāyati ˚veṭheti; also as vv.ll. with abhi-kīrati, ˚pavassati, ˚roceti cp. atikkanta-abhi˚ (Sk. abhikrānta); adhi in ˚patthita ˚pāteti, ˚ppāya, ˚ppeta, ˚bādheti, ˚bhū, ˚vāha (vice versa P. abhi-ropeti compared with Sk. adhiropayati); anu in ˚gijjhati, ˚brūheti, ˚sandahati.
prefix, Vedic abhi, which represents both Idg *m̊bhi, as in Gr. ἀμφί/ around, Lat. ambi, amb round about, Oir imb, Gall. ambi, Ohg. umbi, Ags. ymb, cp. also Vedic (Pāli) abhitaḥ on both sides; and Idg. *obhi, as in Lat ob towards, against (cp. obsess, obstruct), Goth. bi, Ohg Ags. bī = E. be-.