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to afflict; cause physical or mental pain, trouble, suffering, worry, etc.
We can break down
vaevama into different parts:
vaev- toil, pain,
-ma- infinitive ending
A similar word exists in Finnish: vaiva
This word still exists in German as “Weh” and the English “woe” also looks like it’s closely related.
How to use it
What afflicts somebody / causes pain to somebody is in the Nominative (remember, the Nominative nominates the actor in the sentence).
Whom this thing afflicts is indicated by the Partitive case.
Nooruk vaevas pead tühistel teemadel.
Literally: “An adolescent pained head on trivial topics”
Idiomatically: “An adolescent worried (his head) over trivial matters”
Nooruk - Noun, Nom Sg, "An adolescent" vaevas - Verb - 3P Sg Ind Past, "pained" pead - Noun - Part Sg, "head" tühistel - Adjective - Adessive Pl, "on trivial" teemadel - Noun - Adessive Pl, "on topics"
It’s common to use the word “vaevama” together with the word “pead”. Used together the phrase means: putting a lot of thought into something (usually about negative thoughts).
Poissi vaevab haruldane tervisemure
Literally: “A boy afflicts pain rare health concern”
Idiomatically: “A rare health concern afflicts the boy”
Poissi - Noun - Part Sg, "(A) Boy" vaevab - Verb - 3P Sg Ind Present, "afflicts pain" haruldane - Adjective - Nom Sg, "rare" tervisemure - Noun - Nom Sg, "health concern"