Arabic Language Blog

5 Common Arabic Expressions Without An Equivalent in English Posted by on Dec 25, 2016 in Arabic Language, Culture

Marhaba! Learning Arabic is a complex but beautiful journey. If you are reading this, I congratulate you for this strong determination. As you can see from previous posts on the most common slang words in Arabic and others on some examples to better use these words, there are some words and expressions in the Arabic language that do not have direct translations in Arabic. Put another way, you can somewhat and somehow translate the Arabic expression to English, but then you fail to maintain the cultural and linguistic nuance that captures the exact meaning and context in Arabic.

Image via Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)

Today, I am providing you dear Arabic lovers with 5 common Arabic expressions that lack an equivalent in English. I also provide the context in Arabic. Enjoy and tell me which is your favorite on this page and/or via our Twitter/Facebook pages.

1) Yo’borneh jamelik/jamelak
يؤبرني جمالك

Meaning: This expression is used as a compliment between loved ones. It literally means may your beauty bury me. A very rough translation of this expression is that I am willing to die this instance because of your beauty.

2) Na’iman

Meaning: This expression is used after someone takes a shower or simply gets a haircut.

3) Yin’am ‘aleik/’aleiki
ينعم عليك

Meaning: This expression is used after someone tells you na’iman. You are responding to the good wishes, but reciprocating the blessing. Used at the barber or hair salon and between friends and family.

4) ‘a’belik/’a’belak

Meaning: This expression is used to reciprocate good wishes. This is most commonly used at different social occasions. Be it at weddings, graduation ceremonies, or engagements, you constantly hear people telling you ‘a’2belik or ‘a’belak, which roughly translates to ‘hope you will have the same blessing of marriage, success, love etc..’

5) Bitmoon/Bitmooneh
بتمون/ بتموني

Meaning: This expression is used to signal content or approval of one’s actions or demands. For instance, if someone asks you to give them a ride to the airport, but the airport is out of your way, you respond ‘sure, why not.’ The equivalent in English for something that might be inconvenient, such as an out of way trip to the airport, is ‘bitmoon or bitmooneh.’ This is commonly used between friends and family.

For now take care and stay tuned for upcoming posts!
Happy Learning!
Have a nice day!!

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About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.


  1. Adam:

    Hi, nice blog you have it really helps a lot.
    “Naiman” is one of the few Arabic expressions or generally even words my father spoke to us growing up. I came to wonder what it meant a few years ago, but never looked into it. He also expressed fondness towards “bitmoon”, When we were listening to a song by that title, I found that interesting, he said it was associated with more of like a deep graciousness or caring from someone and willingness to do the task you ask of them. We’re Lebnani by the way, but I was born/live in North America.