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