ܘܰܣܩܳܐ wsqʾ wasqā (Hoffmann reads wāsqā) 1. benediction; 2. servant, slave, captive
Derivative: ܘܲܣܩܘܼܬܵܐ wsqwtʾ wasqūṯā bondage, slavery
Early MP wāzak, later wāzag [wʾck'] utterance, saying (CPD 89), a derivative of MP wāz [wʾc] word, speech; 'grace', before meals (CPD 89; Nyberg 200); ManMP wʾc /wāz/ word, speech (Durkin-Meisterernst 2004, 333); NP vāǰ speak, say (Steingass 1448; Horn 240); cf. Av. vak- voice, before endings vā̆č- (AirWb 1332 ff.); OInd. vac- to speak, vāc- word, speech, voice (Monier-Williams 1899, 912 and 936); IE *wekw-, *weH2kw- id.; Gignoux 1980a, 195. — Md. wasqā a cultfood of the Parsees (Drower – Macuch 1963, 155). The devoiced sibilant in wsqʾ shows that the short /a/ of the MP model has been lost (see §11.3.6). According to LS and PS Suppl., notwithstanding the semantic difference between wsqʾ "benediction" and wsqʾ "servant, slave, captive" (PS 1064: servus pecunia emptus [...] nisi quod omittit BB quod sit vox Nabathaea), we have here dealing with the same word; as regards the semantic shift, see also NP wā money extorted by a more powerful monarch from a weaker (Steingass 1450), a word that seems etymologically connected with MP wāz, NP vāǰ speak, say (see above), rather than with MP bāǰ [bʾc] tribute, tax (CPD 16); NP bāǰ tribute; bāz tax, tribute (Steingass 136 and 143). Note also that in Syr. exists a further wsqʾ, meaning "weight, load" (BB 666, 21) which, according to LS 185b, represents Arab. wasq id. However, the connection between the two meanings, in my opinion, remains unclear, and it is possible that we have here two different words. The doubt rises especially because wsqʾ "benediction" is only attested in older Syriac texts replete with loanwords from Middle Persian, whereas wsqʾ "servant, slave, captive" occurs mostly in late lexicographers ● wsqʾ benediction Hoffmann 1880, 96 n. 857; Bedjan, Hist. 440; wsqʾ servant, slave MB X 16; BA 3384; BB 666, 19; Bh car 60, 17; wsqwtʾ Bh car 1, 10 ◆ LS 185b; PS 106; PS Suppl. 105
The ceremony of "taking wāz" consists of reciting Avestan prayers (normally some stanzas from Yasna 37 or Yasna 8) in a low voice, especially before meals. The practice, well described in Ardā Wīrāz Nāmag, was preserved by Persian converts to Christianity, but was opposed by Mār Abā, the catholicos of the Church of Persia (540–552): see Hutter 2003, 170, with bibl.; Boyce – Kotwal 1971.