Communication is a powerful tool for us to connect with people. It brings us together. I was based in the Middle East for 3 years and as a foreigner it was challenge because of meeting of several nationalities. Aside from the Arabs, there are Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Nepalis, and more.
Surprisingly, I found myself picking up some of their habitual words and phrases which tremendously helpful when communicating. Using these words can also help you build rapport with Middle Eastern and or Eastern people. They are definitely fun, unique, and classic! 😁💯
Bringing you 15 Must-Know Words When in Middle East
It’s a Persian/Arabic word means ‘friend’. It’s normally used to address a pal or buddy in a friendly manner. Example: “Can you help me, Yar?!”, “What is this, Yar?”
It’s an Arabic word means ‘my love’, ‘my dear’, or ‘beloved’. It’s normally used to express sweetness and tenderness to someone when speaking to them. I use this when I want to ask help or favor from a colleague and it usually works! Lol. Example: “Please Habibi, help me with my report.” “Habibi, help me get an approval”. “How are you, Habibi?” 😊
This is a colloquial Arabic word which can used in a different kind of situation. I use this when I want to say ‘Let’s go’ or if I want to push someone away so they will go wherever they need to go. It’s a magic trick that works too! Example: ‘Yalla, Habibi!’
It’s an Arabic word which means ‘Done’, ‘Finished’, or sometimes, ‘Enough’. I usually use this word when my boss asked me if I’m done with my work. I will reply with a confidence! “Khalas!” 😊
Xalli Walli / Khali Wali
This is an Arabic phrase means “Who cares?”. I usually use this to tease someone when they are asking help from me; and their reactions is superb funny! Friend: Help me finish these documents, we need to file them before end shift. Me: Khali Wali, you can do it on your own! 😊
This is one of my favorites, Arabic (Islamic phrase) means “if Allah (God) wills it.” This phrase reminds us to humble because there’s only one great and that is our Creator (God Almighty). Example: “I will finish my report on or before Thursday, insha’Allah!”
Another favorite of mine, Arabic (Islamic phrase) means “God has willed it”. This is also used to express happiness in favor of our Creator (God Almighty). Example, me seeing a cute baby “Ohh, MashAllah!”
It’s an Arabic Interjection word which may mean ‘you know’, ‘so’, ‘like’ or ‘kind of’. Example, Me: “yes, yani?”, “Yani, this is not right…”
It’s an Arabic word that denotes someone who is always complicated and bipolar with a friendly atmosphere. Example, Me: I don’t have lunch today, give me 10 dirhams to buy food (in full demand with a smile). Friend: Shuhada, Mafi Fulus! Yalla, drink water!” 😊
It’s an Arabic phrase means ‘No problem’ or ‘I got this’.
It’s an Arabic phrase means ‘No money’; it’s the best answer when someone wants to take treat from you! Lol. See above example? 😊
An Arabic word for ‘Yes’. Example, Me seeing a well-formatted and an informative report done by a colleague: “Aiwa!! It’s an excellent report”. 😊
An Arabic word means ‘something is broken’ or ‘someone is crazy’. Example, Me: “Ohhh this POS machine is kharaban, please change it.”
Theek Hai, Bhai
It’s a Hindi/Urdu phrase means ‘it’s okay, brother’.
Acha and Nahi
Both are Hindi/Urdu word, Acha means Yes while Nahi means No.
There you go! If you will find your self visiting or working in the Middle East, those are the common and useful phrases you may bring with you. These phrases will help you easily blend with the people and connect with them. Bonus: Bilkul, it’s a Hindi/Urdu word for ‘sure’, ‘absolutely’ or ‘exactly, correct’.
Hope you enjoyed the list, let me know other phrases and where they’re from. Surely, they will come handy in the future!
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