16 Arabic Phrases Every Expat Needs To Know

We thought we'd give you a helping hand

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Dubai is such a multi-cultural city you sometimes forget that Arabic is the native language. If you're not hearing it on a day-to-day basis it's quite a hard language to just pick up.

Well, that's all about to change – we've made a list of the most important Arabic words and phrases you need to know while you're living in the sandpit. So whether you're sunning yourself at the beach, or sitting bored on the Metro, there is no excuse to not make a small effort and learn the native language of the city you live in.

Ok, so you might not be fluent by the end of this article, but you'll definitely be able to hold your own during a quick chit chat.

If we're forgetting any key words, send us a mail and let us know... hello@lovindubai.com

1. Probably the most important one to know..."Salaam Alaikum" – Peace to you

This is the traditional Arabic greeting and is pronounced "Salaam-Moh-alley-kuumm"


2. "Wa Alaikum Salaam" – and on you be peace

They typical response to "Salaam Alaikum"


3. "Kayfa Halak" – How are you? (Male)


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4. And if you're female...."Kayfa Halik"

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5."Alhamdulillah" – Praise be to god

This one is a bit of an all-rounder. You can use it as a response to "how are you?" but also after you sneeze and on Thursdays – TGIT


6. "Mafi" – None/No/Not

7. "Mafi Mushkila" – No Problem!

(Mush-keel-aaa) This is probably one of the more popular Arabic phrases and can be used as a response to pretty much anything. Want to call in sick to work and go to the beach? Mafi mushkila!


8. "Inshallah" – God Willing

If you're not familiar with Inshallah then you're either VERY new to Dubai, you're a tourist or you've never left your apartment. Either way, it's a must know.


9. This is one of our faves..."Yallah" – come on!

Come one! Let's go! Hurry up!

10. Use it in conjunction with "Habibi" – My Beloved (baby)

Yallah Habibi!

11. "Zen" – good/fine/okay

Or if the case may be... "Moo Zen" (not good)

12. "Mai" – Water

In need of hydration?


13. "Akil" – food

Or more importantly: if someones says "Mafi Akil" – get out of there fast! It's not worth your time

14. In case of emergency: "Hammam" – toilet/shower


15. "Shukran" – Thank you!


Courtesy of Alisalemdesign.com

16. "Afwan" – Excuse me

Or in response to "shukran"


Written By

Lovin Dubai