Instantly spice up your Arabic slang with 8 essential phrases!

Published November 27th, 2016 - 03:53 GMT

Want to kickstart your Arabic conversational skills? Move beyond the basics of marhaba (hi!), yalla (let's go!), and walla (OMG!), with eight useful phrases that will make you instantly appear more fluent. 

Learning Arabic usually involves a choice beween the classical/standard language and a local/colloquial version, a decision made more complicated by the range of regional dialects to choose from (Wikipedia counts 31 variations).

Ba-see-ta! (no problem!). Take a shortcut with these terms that are fairly universal in the Arabic-speaking world, easily learned (we include Arabic spelling and phonetic pronunciation), and wildly useful. Drop them into your everyday banter, and instantly impress.

 

 

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Covered Arab women

Way-nak (male) or way-nik (female) means "where are you?" It's an indispensable phrase when trying to meet up with friends in a crowd, in a foreign setting, or when faces aren’t readily visible!

Hamza Sheikh

Ya-ra-yet means "I wish!"​ In August, British police forced billionaire Hamza Sheikh to hand over the keys to his £100,000 gold-plated Maserati when they discovered him driving with learner plates and without car insurance. No problem for the teen property tycoon, who told them, “I'll just learn to drive in my Rolls-Royce”. Ya-ra-yet!

Fast food in Arabia

Yee can be used for "Really?" or "Wow!", which was world reaction when investment firm Al Masah Capital estimated the Gulf region's fast food market agrowing to USD $24.5 BIL by 2018. Saudi Arabia leads the region, accounting for nearly half of the GCC market. Rising urban population is a key driver of fast food growth, and a spike in obesity.

Malik Jaziri

Arab tennis great Malik Jaziri was playing Uzbeki Denis Istomin at the 2015 Open Sud de France when he quit, citing an arm injury - nixing a future match with Israeli Dudi Sela. In 2013, Tunisia’s Tennis Federation forbade him from playing Israeli Amir Weintraub (Jaziri then cited a leg injury). Ya haram! Are Israelis his Achilles heel?

Arab argument

Oum ba-'a means "Get out of here!", but use it in moderation as it's very rude. Or use it with a smile to soften the blow!

Stop the noise

Kol-hawa means "Shut-up!". Spit this out when you friends score the last Mashrou' Leila tickets - leaving you in the cold - and won't stop talking about it!

Arabic kiss

Baw-seh mean kiss. So sweet, and also a good recovery if you overplay "oum ba-'a" and "kol-hawa"! Always smart to kiss and make up.

Zinedine Yazid Zidane

Ba-tal means "hero" or "stud". Use it to describe your favorite athlete, like Algerian-French footballer Zinedine Zidane, arguably one of the best to ever lace up the cleats. Now retired, "Zizou" exemplifies heroic studliness. Or use the term ironically when your boyfriend shows up for a date in a baggy sweatsuit!

Covered Arab women
Hamza Sheikh
Fast food in Arabia
Malik Jaziri
Arab argument
Stop the noise
Arabic kiss
Zinedine Yazid Zidane
Covered Arab women
Way-nak (male) or way-nik (female) means "where are you?" It's an indispensable phrase when trying to meet up with friends in a crowd, in a foreign setting, or when faces aren’t readily visible!
Hamza Sheikh
Ya-ra-yet means "I wish!"​ In August, British police forced billionaire Hamza Sheikh to hand over the keys to his £100,000 gold-plated Maserati when they discovered him driving with learner plates and without car insurance. No problem for the teen property tycoon, who told them, “I'll just learn to drive in my Rolls-Royce”. Ya-ra-yet!
Fast food in Arabia
Yee can be used for "Really?" or "Wow!", which was world reaction when investment firm Al Masah Capital estimated the Gulf region's fast food market agrowing to USD $24.5 BIL by 2018. Saudi Arabia leads the region, accounting for nearly half of the GCC market. Rising urban population is a key driver of fast food growth, and a spike in obesity.
Malik Jaziri
Arab tennis great Malik Jaziri was playing Uzbeki Denis Istomin at the 2015 Open Sud de France when he quit, citing an arm injury - nixing a future match with Israeli Dudi Sela. In 2013, Tunisia’s Tennis Federation forbade him from playing Israeli Amir Weintraub (Jaziri then cited a leg injury). Ya haram! Are Israelis his Achilles heel?
Arab argument
Oum ba-'a means "Get out of here!", but use it in moderation as it's very rude. Or use it with a smile to soften the blow!
Stop the noise
Kol-hawa means "Shut-up!". Spit this out when you friends score the last Mashrou' Leila tickets - leaving you in the cold - and won't stop talking about it!
Arabic kiss
Baw-seh mean kiss. So sweet, and also a good recovery if you overplay "oum ba-'a" and "kol-hawa"! Always smart to kiss and make up.
Zinedine Yazid Zidane
Ba-tal means "hero" or "stud". Use it to describe your favorite athlete, like Algerian-French footballer Zinedine Zidane, arguably one of the best to ever lace up the cleats. Now retired, "Zizou" exemplifies heroic studliness. Or use the term ironically when your boyfriend shows up for a date in a baggy sweatsuit!