Arabic Language Blog

عَنْ: Meanings, Examples, and Synonyms Posted by on Apr 3, 2019 in Arabic Language, Grammar, Vocabulary

Let’s continue looking at more tiny Arabic words; their meanings and how to use them. In most cases you’ve seen the word عَنْ mean “about”, but there are a few more meanings. Here are some examples to help clarify them in context.


 .كتاب عن قواعد اللغة العربية

A book about Arabic grammar. / A book on Arabic grammar.


There is no information concerning the number of students in this school.

.لا توجد معلومات عن عدد الطلاب في هذه المدرسة

A question was raised regarding how this building was designed.

.طُرح سؤال عن كيفية تصميم هذه البناية

from: as in a distance from, away from, beyond

.ابق بعيدا عن هذا الحي

Stay away from this neighborhood.


.أنا أبحث عن الحقيقة

I am searching for the truth.

Meanings of the word عَنْ.

Image provided by Yasmine K.

Here are a few common ways to use عَنْ:

  • what/how about…?  (used to suggest something)

        مَاذا عَن…؟   

.ماذا عن هذا الفليم؟ سمعت أنه أخذ تقييماً عالياً

What about this movie? I heard it got a high rating.

  • caused by…/result of… (used to say what causes something)

        …ناتِج عَن

.ويبدو أن هذا ناتج عن إختلافات ثقافية

This appears to be caused by cultural differences.

  • on behalf of…

       …نيابةً عن

.نيابةً عن العائلة، نود ان نشكرك على كل مساعدتك

On behalf of the family, we’d like to thank you for all your help.

Here are two sentences with more than one عن with different meanings.

You used to talk about retiring, about a life beyond the office.

.كنت تتحدث عن التقاعد عن الحياة بعيداً عن المكتب

What have I told you about playing away from the house?

ماذا أخبرتُك عن اللعب بعيداً عن المنزل؟

Now, let’s look at synonyms for عَنْ according to context. In each example, you can replace the synonym with عَنْ 😊

Synonyms for عَنْ when it means “about”:


.هذا الكتاب حول الحرب العالمية الثانية

This book is about World War II.


 ما رأيُك في …؟

ما رأيك في قميصي الجديد؟

What do you think about my new shirt?

A synonym for عَنْ when it means “from a distance”:


.بيتي ليس بعيداً مِن هنا

I hope this post helped clarify the word عَنْ. I have gotten positive feedback regarding these tiny words and their meanings/usages in addition to requests for certain words. Please continue to request any particular word/concept you would like me to help clarify in future posts. 😊

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About the Author: yasmine

MarHaba! I am half Jordanian of Circassian descent and half American. I have a Master's in Second Language Teaching and I teach Arabic as a foreign language here in the US, both MSA and Levantine Arabic. I hope to help you become more familiar and interested in the Arabic language and culture.


  1. Safiya:

    Thank you for your posts, all of which have given me food for thought. I have been learning Arabic for many years, not necessarily with success but at the moment, I have joined a new class and am working hard and feel I am getting somewhere. These little words are so important to understand so SHUKRAN again and I will continue to follow your posts xxx