Nine Untranslatable Arabic Words, Translated

1. Ya’aburnee يقبرني

“You bury me” is an expression of love that goes beyond the grave, said in hope of death before another for life without them would be unimaginable.


2. Zankha زنخ

The rancid/putrid smell of rotting meat is used as a mild insult directed towards someone irritating.


3. Awee/Gowwah قوة *

Literally: strength or force. Used in colloquial language to reinforce the strength with which one loves/likes something. For example; I love you a lot. The word heavy is often used to describe the strength of a smell or food.


4. Bitmoun بتمون

You are in someone’s good books that might be able to help you later on. This is not to be confused with Tarbih as this represents a mutually beneficial and positive relationship.


5. Dam khafif/ Taqeel خفيف/دم ثقيل

Literally meaning light/ heavy blood, this term is used to describe one’s personality or behaviour. Light blood makes one light hearted and a complaining, bad humoured individual is described as ‘heavy-blooded’.


6. Inshallah إن شاء الله

An Arabic word used by Muslims all around the world and Arabic speaking believers of God, Inshallah means God willing.


7. Na’eeman نعىمن

A blessing bestowed upon someone after a shower or make-over.


8. Ishq عشق

“True” love. Love in its most pure form, without jealousy or inconsistency. The kind of love you imagine to exist between an old couple who have been together their entire lives.


9. Sahar سهر

To stay up late for enjoyment.


Are there any more expressions you would add?


  1. دايمه – “Always” & thank you for being such a gracious host
    اقبالك – Inshallah, one day, you will be…married, have kids, see your kids get married, see your kids graduate, etc.

  2. Sanadi : سندي can u used in the manner if سندت ظهري a person whom u can really depend on usually a very close relative. Can be used for expression of love towards a person u really appreciate love and care about him.

  3. Malesh معلش: A consoling word, meaning “It’s okay”. But I have no idea about its origin or literal meaning

  4. Hello,

    Can someone explain the word Tarbiyah for me? ..How is it used? In which context and does it have a positive meaning?

    It is for a project for school and I’m looking for positive/beautiful Arabic untranslatable words. Thank you!

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