Undefined Declarations’ List: Top 10 Mostly Used Arabic Words



Since I’m a native Arabic speaker, my expat friends regularly ask me about common words and how to say them in Arabic. I must admit that Arabic language and specifically the pronunciation of words can be quite tricky. That’s why I decided to compile a list of some widely used Arabic words and their meaning in English.

I also plan to write a List post every week, so please feel free to suggest ideas for my next post. Whether you’re confused about the way some groups or communities act, why Arab women tend to dress up and wear too much make-up, what do Saudi people have for breakfast…whatever the dilemma you are facing, I will try my best to provide an explanation and help simplify your time spent living in the Middle-East 🙂

If you still haven’t seen my first Top 10 List post, you can have a look at it here and learn some basic facts about the Gulf region.

Moving on to today’s topic, I present to you my list of the Top 10 Mostly Used Arabic Words:


1. Ahlain, Hala Wallah, Ahlan, Sabah El Khair.

The first three words mean: Hi. But they are more used in a Saudi accent in this example 🙂  The last word in the above line means: Good Morning.


2. Keefek?, Keef Halek? The answer: El Hamdellah bkhair.

The words “Keefek” and “Keef Halek” mean: How are you? The answer means: Thankful to God, I’m OK.


3. Baba, Mama.

Baba means: Father, and Mama means: Mother. However, this is also relevant to the community and could change according to where the person comes from. This is how a spoiled Saudi girl calls her parents :p




4. Habibi, Habibti, Hayati.

Arab people in general are very emotional. They like to use the above words when speaking to random strangers even if they don’t know them that well or are despising them at the moment!

Definition: Habibi means my love and is used for a male. While Habibti is used when speaking to a female. The word Hayati means: my life and can be used for both girls and boys. Didn’t I tell you Arabs are highly emotional beings? 🙂


5. Shukran, Afwan.

Shukran means: Thank you. And Afwan means: You’re welcome.


6. Ma El Salamah, Tesbah Ala Khair.

Ma El Salamah means: Good Bye. It also means with good wishes or safe and sound. Tesbah Ala Khair means: Good Night.




7. Forsa Saeedah.

Definition: Nice meeting you.


8. Yallah.

Yallah means: Let’s go. But can be used in a sentence to tell someone: come on, hurry up, or “oh well“.


9. Khalas.

Khalas means: it’s over, all set, or to end a conversation when you don’t want to talk anymore about a specific topic 🙂




10. Inshallah, Mashallah.

Inshallah means: God Willing. It’s the equivalent to saying: Hopefully. And Mashallah means: Praise God. And it’s similar to saying: Touch Wood and so is the verbal way of touching wood in the Muslim world 🙂



I was out for dinner with my dear friend Pinay Flying High when I mentioned to her that I plan on writing this post. She suggested that I include her favorite Arabic word: Shuhada.

Now although Shuhada is an Arabic word, it is pronounced differently depending on the Arab country the person is coming from. But since the Lebanese Arabic dialect is considered one of the easiest ones to learn and master, most non-Arabic speakers pick up that accent and use it in daily conversation.

Being the Saudi Diva, I would have to include the Saudi version of the word “Shuhada” and that is: Drum roll…..Aish Hatha? 🙂


I hope that you found these basic Arabic words useful and that you will try to practice using them the next time you are chatting with an Arab 🙂




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Nada Al Ghowainim

I am a 30-something Dubai-based Saudi female lifestyle blogger and writer. I am on an endless journey of self-discovery and self-development. Learn More About Me

21 thoughts on “Undefined Declarations’ List: Top 10 Mostly Used Arabic Words”

  1. This is interesting! I studied Arabic at university in Sweden but sadly, don’t remember much. I would love to learn more! Can we do a “quick Arabic course for bloggers”?
    It was great to meet you at the Pinay Flyging High brunch!

  2. hanlindpiaHi Pia,
    It was great meeting you too. I would love to do more posts on Arabic. Just let me know what kind of words you are interested in learning. And please make sure to follow my blog’s Facebook Page where I post all sorts of random stuff in addition to sharing my blog posts. Here’s the link:
    Thanks and hope to see you soon!

  3. No worries Kevin, I’m glad you found the post helpful. Shuhada means “what is this?”. But it’s specific to Lebanese dialect only. So I wanted to clarify the point that not all Arabs speak in the same way – since the dialects are different. That’s why I explained the Saudi version of the same phrase 🙂

  4. I Googled the word “shuhada” because I recently saw it in a friend’s post. The Google search led me to this page. However, the very next Google result is from http://www.islamic-dictionary.com, which indicates “shuhada” means “martyrs.” It says it is the plural form of “shaheed,” or “martyr.”

    Is this simply an instance of a word having multiple meanings?

    Here’s the link to the web-based dictionary I reference above:

    Thanks for your help!

  5. Hi Adam,
    Thanks for dropping by and I hope that you will come back to check out other posts on this blog. Basically, the word is pronounced differently in the two examples. Also, the meaning that is mentioned in this post is for a “slang” word and not a formal way of Arabic language. However, the meaning that you provided is for a classical Arabic word. So both words refer to two different meanings, since they are not pronounced in the same way.
    You can stay updated with my blog and learn more about Arabic culture and vocabulary by following my Facebook fan page:

  6. Actually, shuhada as one word means martyrs, shu hadha as two words is Levantine for “what is this?” – shu means what in Levantine ( eg shu ismak? – what’s your name?), and hadha/hatha/hada and all the same, just different pronunciations. I’m pretty sure I remember hearing shuhada as martyrs when I was in the area. The hadha when asking a question is said more between a d and th sound too. Hope that explains it!

  7. Hi Jules,
    Thanks for the detailed explanation for the meaning of the word. I can honestly say that I’m a native Arabic speaker, so whatever I wrote in the post and in my comments is from a native language speaker, writer and reader perspective. I went to an Arabic-curriculum school until I graduated from high school. But thanks for the detailed response.

  8. This us very helpful, I hope u can post more useful words for daily use. I’m a sales staff and I used to talk to a lot of people but language barrier is my problem.

    1. Hey, my pleasure. Thanks for reading. This blog has now moved to a new location. Please follow my blog’s Facebook page to stay updated with the new posts:

      I plan to write more culture-related posts in the new blog as well. So please “like” the above Facebook page to stay updated. Thanks!

  9. Assalam alaikom? Keif kom? Insha Allah khair. I noticed this site and found it interesting and fun. Sharing words that we newly learned and thoughts in different languages are really fun 🙂
    I find listening to an arabic conversation makes learning more easier.
    Gabl talata sana, ana mayaref shei. Walla wahid ana mafi malom kalam arabi. Alhin, Al hamdullilah, fi malom shinu Qatari mama o baba kalam hag ana.

  10. Hello Nada,

    Translating the word “shuhada” seems to be a little difficult. I passed through Shuhada Street in Hebron last week and asked a local man what the word “shuhada” means. He said that the word “shuhada” means “a depressed person with a complicated mind”. I thought it was a strange name for a street

    Thank you.

    Gerry Duffy (IRL)

    1. Hello Gerry,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not familiar with the definition that the man gave you. I explained it in Arabic as it’s my native language.
      Anyway, this blog has now moved to another location. Please feel free to check it out on the following link:
      Alternatively, you can follow the blog’s Facebook Page on the below link:

      Thanks for the support,

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