09 Dec 8 More Arabic Sayings that Have Hilarious “Literal” Translations
Translating from Arabic into English can be a breeze, but the “struggle is real” when it comes to translating everyday Arabic sayings into English. Read beyond the literal translation to understand what these expressions are all about.
You asked for more, and for that, we’ve put together a second list of Arabic sayings that will make you LOL! Make sure you check out the first one too: 8 Arabic Sayings That Have Hilarious “Literal” Translations. Guaranteed to make you laugh!
Literal Translation: “environment”
In Arabic, the word bee’aa means environment and there’s nothing wrong with saying it (it is an appropriate word, really!). However, in the Egyptian dialect, the term has been adopted to label something of low quality or a “sleazy” person. You can think of it as the equivalent of the English word “cheap”. Don’t ask, but “look at that dress, it’s so bee’aa!”
Literal Translation: “crawler”
Chasing after girls in Iraq is on a whole different level! The word zahif has recently spread in universities, in the last couple of years or so. Students would say it when referring to a boy who’s flirting, talking to a girl, trying to “desperately” talk to a girl or offering her help. There’s no compromising here; whether he’s genuinely helping her out or not, he’d still be a “zahif”.
He’d “crawl” to her i.e., “he’s such a zahif!”
3. أبوس روحك
Transliteration: aboos rouhak
Literal Translation: “I kiss your soul”
Dialect: all dialects
Ok – it may sound a bit off, but we’re definitely not kissing anyone’s soul here. You can use this one in so many different situations; depending on the pitch of your voice. It can be a high-pitched one – when you’re mad at someone, you say: “aboos rouhak khalas!!” Other ways of using it include praising someone, as a good sweet phrase for couples and so forth (told you, it all goes back to how you say it!).
“Aboos rouhak ana!” …That’s a flirty one-liner for you.
4. تو الناس
Transliteration: taw al nas
Literal Translation: “now the people”
Now the what? We know the transliteration confused you. This common Gulf Arabic phrase means “it’s still early”. It is said when someone is about to leave (for example a guest) and you don’t want them to leave yet. As a matter of fact, the guest was at your place for at least 7 hours, but it’s still considered “early” for Arabs, LOL.
It’s like showing hospitality to your guests:
A: “I should get going”
B: “Taw al nas!”
Literal Translation: “unsalted”
Dialect: Gulf; Iraqi
A slang phrase that is used when referring to someone that doesn’t know anything, can’t be bothered, and just carefree overall.
When you ask the “fahi” person to do something for you, he wouldn’t know what to do or takes his sweet time.
Hint: fahi (m) ; fahya (f)
Oh – and in case you’re wondering fahi is also used to describe unsalted food anyway.
6. أموت فيك
Transliteration: amoot feek
Literal Translation: “I die in you”
Dialect: Levantine (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine)
We’ll keep this one short and simple. It’s just another way of saying “I love you” in Levantine Arabic. After all, love is all about sacrifice, eh! (explains the “I die in you” literal translation). We must insert another LOL here.
Hint: amoot feek (m) ; amoot feeki (f)
Literal Translation: “sticker”
Dialect: all Arabic dialects – in the Gulf region it’s pronounced lazga, while
in the Levant region (and in Egypt), it’s pronounced “laz’aa”
A “lazga” is a person who’s always with you, in front of you, behind you, sitting next to you and even calling you! Not a stalker though, you actually know him/her.
…A clinger, basically.
“OMG …He’s such a lazga during class and wherever I go!”
8. يا بعد روحي وعمري
Transliteration: ya ba’ad roohi wu omri
Literal Translation: “you’re after my soul and age”
This expression is similar to number 6 above, “amoot feek”. It’s also another way to express your love for your special someone. Arabs are so expressive when it comes to terms of endearment, we sacrifice our souls, age, and even organs. Ha ha!
Do you want to learn more everyday Arabic words and phrases? We’ll help you choose the best course to suit you!