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Letter of the Week (د) daal Posted by on Mar 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

Moving on to our eighth letter of the Arabic alphabet (د), we will look at various words and phrases beginning with (د) along with more culture/language related facts.

Let’s begin with looking at your basic forms of the letter د.

Initial د‎, as in the word “دَفْتَر” meaning “notebook”.

Medial ـد‎ ‍, as in the word “أدَب” meaning “literature”.

Final ـد‎, as in the word “يَدّ” meaning “hand”.

Before looking at the following words and phrases, can you think of words beginning with د?

دائِرة: circle        .رَسمتُ دائِرة حَول اسمي    I drew a circle around my name.

دائِماً: always    .أنا دائِماً أشربُ الماء مَع الوَجبات        I always drink water with meals.

داخِل: inside      .على الجَّميع البَقاء في الدَّاخِل      Everyone is to remain inside.

دار: house  .هذا الدَّار مَصنوع مِن الخَشَب        This house is made of wood.

Note: two other words for house in Arabic are بَيت and مَنزِل. 🏠

Can you think of any Middle Eastern cities that begin with د?


Souq al-Hamidiyya

Souq al-Hamidiyya  Image by Varun Shiv Kapur on

You have probably heard of دمشق being referred to as “the cradle of civilization” مهد الحضارة. It is filled with history التَّاريخ and archaeology الآثار of ancient civilizations الحضارات القديمة. It is the capital of Syria and the country’s largest city. دمشق is a major cultural center of the Levant and the Arab world and is colloquially known in Syria as (الشَّام) and titled the “City of Jasmine” (مدينة الياسمين). Founded in the 3rd millennium B.C., دمشق is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East.


Downtown Dubai Image via Pixabay

Here is a 6 minute video talking about the ancient history of دُبي in Modern Standard Arabic along with English subtitles.

Ancient History of Dubai Episode 01

وثائقي دبي قبل الميلاد: الحلقة 01 دبي القديمة



دافِئ: warm     .عندما يَكون الطَقس دافِئاً، أحبُ القراءة في الخارِج

When the weather is warm, I like to read outside.

دَجاج: chicken  هل هذا دَجاج أم لَحِم بَقر؟         Is this chicken or beef?

دُخان: smoke   .أشم رائحة دخان       I smell smoke.

Note: In Levantine Arabic, دُخان is also used to refer to smoking or cigarettes.

دَراجة: bike    .استأجرتُ دراجة مِن أجل الرِّحلة      I rented a bike for the trip. 🚲

دَرَسَ: to study    .درستُ جيداً ولكن الإختبار كان صعباً جداً

I studied well but the test was too difficult.

دَقيقة: minute     .أحتاجُ فقط عَشر دَقائِق للتَسوق       I only need ten minutes to shop.

دَم: blood     .ما هي فَصيلة دَمك          What is your blood type?

دَواء: medicine    .لا يوجَد أدوية كافية لِجميع المُرضى

There is not enough medicine for all the patients.

دَور: turn   .انتظر دورك مِن فَضلك        Please wait your turn.

دين: religion    .تعلمنا عَن الأديان المُختَلِفة     We learned about the different religions.

دينار: dinar    دينارين: two dinars (dual)   دنانير: dinars (plural)

Can you think of which Arab countries use Dinar as their currency?

دَفَعَ: to pay    .دَفَعَ دينارين ونِصف على القهوة      He paid two dinars and a half for coffee.


Levantine Arabic

An important and often used phrase to know in Levantine Arabic is دير بالك which roughly translates to Be careful. /Take care. /Beware. depending on context.

Now, with the Coronavirus pandemic, I am hearing from many family members and friends to ديري بالِك almost every day.

Literally, دير بالك means to “turn your attention” where دارَ means “to turn” and بال means “thought/attention/mind”. Both words exist in Modern Standard Arabic as well and have the same meaning, yet together, they mean the expression “Be careful.” in Levantine Arabic.

In modern standard Arabic, one would use the verb “حَذِرَ” therefore making it اِحْذِرْ to say be careful or be cautious.

Going back to دير بالَك, when saying it to a male, one would say “دير بالَك”, with a fetHa on the lam, to a female “ديري بالِك” with a kesra beneath the lam, and to two or more people “ديرو بالكُم”.

Sometimes it is used to say take care of someone or something. In this case, you add على before the noun.

دير بالك على     Take care of…

.دير بالَك على أخوك    Take care of your brother.

.دير بالَك على هاد الكتاب لأنه كتير قديم    Take care of this book because it’s very old.


When telling someone to beware of something or someone, add مِن before the noun.

…دير بالك مِن                  Be careful from/of…/ Beware of…

.دير بالك مِن فيروس الكورونا     Be careful of the coronavirus.

.دير بالك مِن أي شخص مريض   Be careful from any person who is sick.


Till next week, happy Arabic learning! 😊

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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. Andy:

    Thank you for the detailed and informative blogs.

  2. Khan:

    Unique style and precise details

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