Arabic Language Blog

Turkish words in Libyan Arabic Posted by on May 21, 2021 in Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

Welcome to a new post  🙂 مرحبا بكم في مدوّنة جديدة  Today’s post is of interest to those who are keen to learn more about spoken Arabic and the focus is Libyan Arabic اللهجة الليبية . A few months ago, we learnt some of the popular Italian words that were adopted from the Italian language and integrated into the Libyan dialect. In today’s post, we’re going to look at words that are of Turkish origin تركية الأصل – another popular group of words that one can hear used in an everyday setting in Libya.

Image by MichaelGaida on


*This can be a good resource to our Turkish speaking readers – it’s always good to realise you already know more words in a language than you thought you did 😉

Alongside Italian, Libyan Arabic is also quite influenced by the Turkish language – although its influences isn’t as great as that of the Italian – and this is obvious in the large number of everyday words that are originally Turkish. The reason for this is most likely to be related to the Ottoman conquest الغزو العثماني as Ottomans ruled حيث حكم العثمانيون  the Middle Eastالشرق الأوسط  and North Africa شمال إفريقيا for more than 600 years, before WWI الحرب العالمية الأولى (at least 300 years in the coastal area المناطق الساحلية of Tripoli-Libya, in particular).

                                                           ✨  ✨  ✨  ✨  


The words we’re going to look at are divided into 5 main categories: the house المنزل, the kitchen المطبخ, food الطعام, clothes ملابس & general/mix عام.

Note: Many of these words are not unique to Libyan Arabic, but can be found and are used in other Arab countries, especially the Levant.

                                                          ✨  ✨  ✨  ✨  ✨


*Main features of Turkish loan words in Libyan Arabic: 

Some of the letters that can make it easy for one to know the word is probably originally Turkish are:

 K كـ

 sh شـ  


J جـ

                                                          ✨  ✨  ✨  ✨  ✨

Let’s move on to the words:


*Italicised & bolded > Turkish.

*Bolded > Libyan Arabic.

*Bracketed > MSA.


The House – المنزل

dolap (Cabinet/ closet)دولاب 


çekmece (Chest of drawers/ nightstand) – شكماجة 

(مِنْضَدَة السَّرير)

pervaz (Photo frame) – برواز 

(إِطَار الصُّورَة)

çeşme (Tap) – شيشمه 


kutu (Box) – كوتي


çarşaf  (Bed sheet) – شرشاف 

(غِطاء/ مِلاءَة السرير)

yorgan (Duvet) – يورغان


= = = = = = = = 


The Kitchen – المطبخ

şişe (Bottle)شيشه 


kaşık (Spoon) – كشيك  


tava (Pan) – طاوه 


bakraç (Coffee pot) – بكرج  


tencere (Saucepan) – طنجره  


= = = = = = = = 


Food – الطعام

dolam (stuffed vine leaves) – ضومله


köfte (A kind of fried meat balls) – كفته  


börek (mincemeat pie/Samosa) – بوريك  


erişte (Vermicelli/ Type of thin pasta) – رشته  


= = = = = = = = 

✨Clothes – ملابس

kaftan (Dress) – قفطان 


çüzdan (Wallet) تزدان


çanta (Bag) – شنطة  


 nazik (Neat) – نازك/نازكة  **adjective**


= = = = = = = = 


✨General/Mix – عام

hurda  (Scrap) – خرده  


abla (Teacher) – أبله   


tabur (Que) –طابور  


usta (Handyman) – صطا  

(عَامِل يَدَوِي)

taze (Fresh) – طاظه   **adjective**


tembel (Lazy) – تمبال/تمبالة   **adjective**


= = = = = = = =

See you in the next post!
Keep learning Arabic استمر في تعلّم العربية ✨✨


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About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.