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Letter of the Week (ط) Taa Posted by on May 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

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

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

Initial طـ‎, as in the word “طالِب” meaning “student”.

Medial ـطـ‎ ‍, as in the word “مَطَر” meaning “rain”.

Final ـط‎, as in the word “خَطّ” meaning “line”.

The letter ط is another Arabic letter that does not have an equivalent sound in English. Arabic learners sometimes find it difficult to hear the difference in sound between the letters ت and ط. The sound ت is produced when the tip of the tongue lightly touches the roof of the mouth and the breath is uninterruptedly flowing. Whereas ط takes more effort to produce in that you try and keep the air in while slightly rounding your lips.

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

Let’s start with طَيّب a three-letter versatile word used in both Modern Standard and dialectical Arabic.

(As a verb)

طَيَّبَ: to spice/flavor/season food (Arabic synonym: تَبّلَ)

.طَيَّبَ الأرز بِالتوابِل    He seasoned the rice with spices.

طَيّب: to aromatize/scent or making something fragrant (Arabic synonym: عَطّرَ)

.طَيّب الغُرفة برائِحة الوَرد     He scented the room with the smell of roses.

(As a noun)

Image via Pixabay

طَيّب: agreeable/good/nice/pleasant (Arabic synonym: جَيّد)

تَفاهمُ طيب    a good understanding

طَيّب: delicious/savory/tasty   (Arabic synonym: لَذِيذ)

.هذهِ السَّلَطة طَيّبة    This salad is delicious.

طَيّب: kind  (Arabic synonym: صَالِح، كَريم)

رَجُل طَيّب      a kind/good man

In many Arabic dialects, you will here طَيّب used to mean “okay”.

For example:

Could you open the window?


مُمكِن تِفتَح الشُّباك؟


Note: Okay in standard Arabic is حَسَنًا.

😋Speaking of something طَيّب, Taboon bread خبز طابون‎ is a Levantine flatbread traditionally baked in a taboon oven which is a clay oven. It is used as a base or wrap in many dishes and is an important part of Palestinian cuisine. It is of medium thickness, slightly chewy, and does not tear easily.

Image by Team Palestina on

Here is a clip showing a Palestinian woman making خبز طابون‎ from scratch just like her mother and grandmother taught her everyday despite her children telling her there is no need to tire herself anymore when there are bakeries now. She says she enjoys making خبز طابون‎ and keeping the tradition going. Notice that the reporter is speaking in Modern Standard Arabic while the Palestinian lady is speaking in her Palestinian dialect which has the “ch” sound as in the English word “child” which replaces the “k” sound or “ك” sound. For example the word “katheer” كثير meaning “a lot” or “very much” is said as “chatheer”. There is no “ch” sound in the Arabic alphabet, yet some Arabic dialects have it.

هل تعرفون الطابون الفلسطيني ؟

Here are more words beginning with ط 😊

طَبَّاخ: cook (noun)

.كانَت والدتي طباخة رائِعة. حَصَلتُ على هذه الوَصفات منها

My mother was a great cook. I got these recipes from her.

طَبَخَ: to cook  .لا تَطبخ الحِساء على نار عالية وإلا سَيحترِق

Don’t cook the stew on high heat or it will burn.

Image via Pixabay

طارَ: to fly

Note: If you want to say “fly” as in to travel by plane, you can say يُسافِر بِالطّائرة.

طائر: bird

.تُطير الطيور جنوباً في الشتاء  Birds fly south in the winter.

طَعام: food  (Arabic synonym: أكل)

Related words are طَعْم meaning “taste” and مَطْعَم meaning “restaurant”.

.لَقد وجدتُ مطعماً يُقَدِم المأكولات العربية اللذيذة

I found a restaurant that makes delicious Arabic food.

.أحبُ طَعم الحَليب في الشاي والقهوة  I love the taste of milk in tea and coffee.

طِبّ: as in the science of medicine, hence you get طَبيْب meaning “doctor”.

.بَعد حصولها على شهادة الطِب، فَتَحَت عيادتها الخاصة

After obtaining her medical degree, she opened up her own clinic.

.يريد والداي أن أصبح طبيبة لكنني أفَضِل أن أكون مُمَرِضة

My parents want me to become a doctor, but I prefer to be a nurse.

Note: Another word used for “doctor” is similar to English being دكتور.

طَريقة as in how you do something which can be confused with طَريق without the ة to mean “way” as in “rout”.

طِفْل is “child” hence “childhood” is طُفولة.

.وضعوا طِفلهم في مَدرسة خاصة للحصول على تَعليم أفضَل

They put their child in a private school to have a better education.

طَقْس: weather (Arabic synonym: جو)

.الطَقس يتغير اليوم. لستُ مُتأكدا مِما إذا كنتُ بِحاجة إلى سترة

The weather keeps changing today. I’m not sure if I’ll need a jacket.

Here is a link to a short weather broadcast النَّشرة الجَوية for Jordan for the 19th of May. The speaker does speak fast, but you can pause the video whenever you like to read the words and numbers on the screen to help you follow along. Also, notice on the bottom of the screen, there is the statement “هذه النشرة الجوية مصورة من المنزل| #كورونا”. Can you make out the meaning?

“This weather forecast is broadcasted from home| #corona”

طقس العرب | طقس الغد في الأردن | الثلاثاء 2020/5/19

طاوِلة: table

طَويل: tall/long depending on context

.فارس هو أطوَل طالِب في فَصله  Faris is the tallest student in his class.

.أحتاجُ إلى طاوِلة طويلة ِلوَضع كُل مِن الكمبيوتر والطابِعة 

I need a long table to put both the computer and printer.

طَبيعة means “nature” and طَبيعي means “natural” or “normal”.

هل مِن الطبيعي رؤية هذا العَدد الكَبير مِن الطيور في الفناء؟

Is it normal to see these many birds in the yard?

.أرى الكثير مِن الكوارِث الطبيعية في الأخبار مؤخراً

I see too many natural disasters on the news lately.

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. Yukoko:

    I just found this blog today by chance.
    I had have never seen a very kind and elaborate blog on Arabic language with English.

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