Like every other language Arabic is full of many idiomatic expressions. The diverse Arab culture provides an extensive list of pronouns that vary to a great extent across different cultures and regions. Knowing the basic idioms is important because they make up our everyday life, and even if you know the meaning of each word and term, it is impossible to understand the real meaning for a non-native speaker. “It is raining cats and dogs” is one such expression, which can be mistaken to mean that cats and dogs were falling instead of water droplets, while in reality, it is just an expression that means “it was raining heavily!” In this lesson, we will look at some common Arabic Idioms that you will come across when talking to an Arab Speaker!
Common Arabic Idioms
1. العقل زينة – Al Aqlu Zeenah
Translation: The mind is a decoration Meaning: The real beauty lies in your manners/thinking. A beautiful mind means a beautiful person!
2. يد واحدة ماتسقفش – Yad Wahed Matsa’fash
Translation: One hand doesn’t clap Meaning: It really means that cooperation from all parties is necessary.
3. الحركة بركة – Alharka Barakah
Translation: Movement is a blessing. Meaning: You need to act in order to get things done.
4. التكرار يعلّم الحمار – At Takrar Yuallamal Himar
Translation: Repetition can even teach a donkey. Meaning: Practice makes a man perfect.
5. على قد لحافك مد رجليك – Ala Qad Lihafak Mid Rajlaik
Translation: Stretch your legs as far as your blanket extends. Meaning: Spend according to your means.
6. على عيني وراسي – Ala Aini Wa Raasi
Translation: On my Head and My Eyes Meaning: I will love to do absolutely anything you ask.
7. حطه في دوّامة – Hattah fi Dawwamah
Translation: It put him in a whirlpool Meaning: It totally shocked him, or it put him in a fix.
8. هاك الشبل من ذاك الأسد – Haak Ashshabal Min Zalika Alasad
Translation: That cub is from that lion Meaning: Like Father like Son (Arabs Respect their lineage a lot!)
9. ديل الكلب عمره مايتعدل – Deil Al Kalb Umruhu ma Ya’tadil
Translation: A dog’s tail can never straighten Meaning: A person’s nature doesn’t usually change
10. الطيور على أشكالها تقع – At Tuyur Ala Ashkaliha Taqa
Translation: Birds of the same kind flock together Meaning: You are recognised by the company you keep. Your friends symbolise the kind of person you are!
Arabic Language & the Arab World
There are many idioms that are specific to a particular region. The common Arabic idioms in this lessonare understood throughout the Arab World, though the pronunciation of the words might be different. Learning the idioms will help you understand the people better, and make you look more like a native speaker. Someone learning a new language finds the idioms the hardest, because the words by word translation does not work in this case and the learner finds it extremely confusing.
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