16 Arabic Phrases Every Expat Needs To Know


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 at 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”

salam alaykum arabic word learn arabic for dubai

2. “Wa Alaikum Salaam” – and on you be peace

They typical response to “Salaam Alaikum”

wa alikum salam learn most common arabic words for your visit to middle east uae or saudi arabia or qatar

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


"Kayfa Halak" – How are you? (Male)

4. And if you’re female….”Kayfa Halik”

both are different, keep notes.

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

alhamdulillah in arabic

6. “Mafi” – None/No/Not

mostly used as “excuse me”

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!

mafi mushkila learn basic arabic for your visit to United arab emirates dubai, saudi arabia, qatar, oman, bahrain

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.

insha Allah meaning

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!

yalla habibi menaing in english

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!

16. “Afwan” – Excuse me

Or in response to “shukran”



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