What is the meaning of "vedayati"

Hi Pali experts,

See MN136. As a beginner in Pali who is trying to deepen my knowledge, I am somewhat confused. The translation of the word “vedayati” suggests that it might be the 3rd. sing. pres. indicative of a verb whose headword, if it existed, would also be “vedayati”.

The word appears under three entries in the PTS Pali English Dictionary: dukkha, dukkhīyati, and vedeti. The last suggests that it is the Vedic “vedayati”. The corresponding Sanskrit definition suggests a meaning “to feel, experience”, which certainly fits Ven. @sujato’s translation.

So my question boils to to: is my analysis correct? And, shouldn’t a definition be added?


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Note you can also tag bhante @sujato who authored the translation you quote. :anjal:

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Hi JDavid,

You’re essentially correct.
When parsing a verb, it is perhaps most straightforward to think in terms of verbal roots.
In this case, you could say vedayati is the 3rd sg. act. of the present stem vedaya-, from the root vid ‘to know; to experience’.
Does that answer your question?
[Sidenote: from a historical perspective, the root vid ‘to know’ is extremely interesting and its derivatives in Indo-European languages are often unusual].


It seems to be the causative form of vedeti. It forms like this: Pāḷi √vid (knowing) + -aya- (causative infix) + -ti (3rd pers. sing. pres. ind. ending). The change to -e- in the root is due to strengthening (guṇa) as it happens at times in the formation of causatives. These forms may carry some other meanings than a straight causative. See here in the fourth entry, though they don’t break it up: vedeti - Definition and Meaning - Pali Dictionary | Pāli to English, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Burmese Dictionary



Hello Ven. @A.Bhikkhu and @Leon,

Thanks very much for your input which has prompted me to look a bit further into it. Yes it could be taken as an active, transitive verb meaning to know, experience or feel and, yes, it could be a causative for with one “patent” making it, in effect, transitive (Warder, Introduction to Pali, Third Edition, Lesson 16, p. 79). I now have no doubt that the root is vid.

I looked more closely at the above link to Monier-Williams Sanskrit dictionary and see that it says, " vedayati : third person singular present causative present class from √[vid".

There is a mention of a 7th conjugation form from of √[vid in Duroiselle’s Practical Grammar of the Pāli Language, section 380: “vid → vede, vedaya (7), to feel, speak. √vid + e = vede or vedaya” and Warder [ibid., p. 79] connects the causitive with the 7th conjugation. So that nails it, I think.

I’ll leave the question open hoping that, perhaps, others like @sujato who know much more than I will comment.


In Pali, aya often is interchangeable with e, so vedayati = vedeti. Such variations are not always mentioned in the dictionaries.


Hello Ven. @sujato,

Thank you so much for taking your valuable time to help me! It things like that that trip me up!