These Are Some Of The Essential Khaleeji Phrases And Words You Can Use In The GCC


The Gulf or Khaleeji dialect is one that simply can’t be ignored. Some say it sounds a little too harsh, others find it quite appealing, but there’s one thing you can’t deny- it’s definitely worth knowing a few things here and there. You never know when it might get you out of trouble. 

Or earn you the respect and admiration of fellow colleagues (if so), for putting in the effort.

So, if you’re ready to learn a little more than the ‘habibi’ we’ve all kind of overused when meeting an Arab, here’s a few other words and phrases to get you by: 

1. Mashkoor/a or Shukran- Thank You

Mashkoor/mashkoora is another, more formal word for the usual ‘shukran’ or thank you. Note that adding the ‘a’ towards the end of the word means you only say this to a woman. 

2. Ey shay- Anything

Ayyye shay can mean ‘whatever’ or ‘anything’ in a non-cheeky way. It’s a good response to when someone asks you what you want to order from McDonalds, per se.

3. Alheyn- al7eyn- Now

Literal meaning ‘now’, add a little stress to the ‘H’ as how the Arabs do when they say “Habibi” 

4. Shloonik?/ Shhloonich?- How are you?

How are you? 

Again, notice that anything ending in a ‘k’ is usually for men and ‘ch’ for women (In most Khaleeji words, at least)

Shhalak/shhalach is more commonly used as the ‘How are you’ in the Emirates though.

5. Zayn, alhamdullilah- Fine, thanks

The usual response to “How are yous?”, the meaning of zayn is “fine” and alhamdullilah is literally “glory or praise be to God” but in this context is sort of a “I’m fine, thank you”.

6. Afwan- You’re Welcome

“You’re welcome”

7. Ma’asalama – Goodbye

Goodbye! A nice respectful way to bid adieu to someone or a group of people when leaving.

8. Maafee/ fee – Nothing/ There Is

Maafee- “There is none”, Fee- “There is”, a short response to when someone asks you if something is available or is in the vicinity. 

9. Wayn-Wayn(a) or Fayn – Where?

Can be used when asking for a location or an object, or someone

10. Shway Shway – Just a second or ‘slowly slowly’

Usually told with the infamous hand that is now associated with this word and the Khaleeji culture. This word is more used when asking someone to wait and see what you have up your sleeve (in a threatening way), or nicely asking them to slow down on something. 

There is no in-between.


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