Arabic Words to Know


Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world, and is spoken by around 420 million people. It is the official language of 25 countries, some of them with must-see tourist attractions. If you’re planning on visiting Egypt’s spectacular pyramids, the archaeological sites at Petra, or the world’s tallest building in Dubai, you might want to learn the following common Arabic words and phrases before your trip.


1.  As-salaam Alaikum (السَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُمْ)

This greeting literally translates to “peace be upon you.” It is commonly used when you meet up with someone or are saying goodbye, and is answered with Wa-alaikum salaam (وَعَلَيْكُمُ السَّلَام) which means “peace be with you, too.”


2.  Marhaban (مرحباً) 

This simpler greeting means hi or hello. You can answer with Ahlan (أهلا) which means the same.

3.  Kaif Halik? (?كيف حالك)

After greeting someone, you might want to ask them: how are you? Kaif hails literally means what’s the news, and you can answer this question with “ana bekher” (أنا بخير) which means I’m fine. Another common answer is Elhamduallah (ٱلْـحَـمْـدُ للهِ), which means praise be to god.


4. Minfadlek (من فضلَك)

When you travel, you always want to be polite! Always remember the magic word when you order something or ask for directions. (It’s please, by the way).


5. Shukran (شكرا)

Shukran is another must. It means thank you. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll find yourself saying it when you visit an Arabic-speaking country. The culture is very hospitable, and people will always want to make sure that you feel at home and have everything you need.


 6. Yalla! (يللا)

This means “Let’s go!” or “Hurry up!” This is the perfect phrase for when you start to get impatient. “Yalla! The show’s about to start and you’re not even dressed!” 


7. Kam thahman hadha? (كم ثمن هذا)

 When in the Middle East, you will have to go visit a souk, or market. Here, you’ll find anything from delicious food, spices, and tea, to soccer jerseys, souvenirs, and trinkets. You can ask for the price by saying “kam thahman hadha?” or “how much is this?” Don’t be a sucker and be ready to barter in order to lower the price! The original price you’re given won’t even be close to the item’s value.


Now, you’re ready for you trip! Ma’a salaama! مع السلامة! Goodbye!