Immersing oneself in a new language can be both challenging and rewarding.

In this article, we delve into the intriguing world of Arabic idioms, an essential part of Emirati communication and across the whole Arabic-speaking world of 422 million across 25 countries!

By understanding these idioms, you not only enrich your linguistic repertoire and sound more like a native speaker, but also gain insights into the vibrant Emirati culture.

Let’s embark on this exciting linguistic journey!

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8 Most Common Arabic Proverbs And Idioms

طب الجرة على ثمها بتطلع البنت لأمها

English Translation: Tip the jug over on its head, and the girl will turn out like her mother.

Meaning: No matter what you do, a daughter will turn out like her mother.

القرد بعين أمه غزال

English Translation: The monkey in his mother’s eyes is a gazelle.

Meaning: Mothers tend to see their children in the best light.

كلهم قردين وحارس

English Translation: They are only two monkeys and a guard.

Meaning: They are very few people.

يا جبل ما يهزك ريح

English Translation: Oh mountain, don’t let the wind shake you.

Meaning: A way of telling someone they’re strong and encouraging them not to let a small problem bother them.

اللي مايعرف الصقر يشويه

English Translation: Whoever doesn’t know an eagle, grill it.

Meaning: You would say this expression when someone is trying to intimidate you. This expression can be used to mean you don’t know who you’re dealing with. The logic behind this is that an eagle would never let you grill it.

الزائد أخو الناقص

English Translation: Excess is the brother of shortage.

Meaning: Too much of something is just as bad as too little of it.

طنجرة ولقت غطاها

English Translation: A pot that has found its lid.

Meaning: When two people get along really well. They’ve found their other half.

يا ماخذ القرد على ماله بيروح المال و بيضل القرد على حاله

English Translation: Oh, you who takes the monkey for his money, the money will go away, and the monkey will remain.

Meaning: This refers to people who marry for money. It says that if the money’s gone, you’ll end up with the guy or girl.

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50 Basic Arabic Phrases You Should Know In Dubai

Do you intend to relocate to Dubai?

When relocating to a new city, it is always a good idea to become acquainted with the local language, which in Dubai is Arabic.

While English-speaking residents of the city will be able to get by without learning the language in its entirety, mastering certain words or phrases will make getting around much easier.

On that note, here’s a handy list of some basic Arabic words and their English translations to get you started.

Basic Arabic Greetings

Knowing Arabic greetings can help you make a good first impression, whether you are a new visitor or an expat worker looking to get along with local coworkers.

Here is a list of basic Arabic greeting words with English translations:



Good Evening

Massa el khair

Good Morning

Sabah el khair

Nice To Meet You

Forsa Sa’eeda



How Are You?

Kayf halak?

Basic Arabic Words In The UAE To Ask Questions

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Knowing how to ask the right questions in the local language can make it easier to meet locals and bargain with shopkeepers in Dubai.

Here are some basic Arabic phrases to help you with everything from asking someone’s name to getting directions.

What Is Your Name?

Shenu ismak?

Do You Speak English?

Tetkallam Engleezi?


Shu or Sheno/Meen or Meno


Leysh/ Wain

Where Is?


How Do I Get To?

Kaif awsal le?

Is This The Way To..?

Hath el tareeg ywassel le ..?

Is It Safe? 

Hath Aamen?

Is It Dangerous?

Hath khatar?

Where Can I Buy?

Wain agdar ashtri?

What Is The Cost?

Kam el se’er?

How Much?


Where Are You?


Where Is The Bathroom?

Wain alhamam

How Much Is The Rent?

Kam Al Ijar

Can I Help You?

Agdar Asa’edak

What’s Up?

Shul akhbar?

What Is This?

Sheno hatha? Or shu hada

What Is The Time?

Kam Alsaa’

Where Is The Hospital?

Wain Al Mustashfaa

Where Is The Nearest Cash Machine?

Wain Aqrab Saraf-aalee

Basic Arabic Phrases For Emergencies

The emirate of Dubai has a sizable expat population. However, you may not always come across an English-speaking resident in the event of an emergency.

Here are some basic Arabic sentences to help you out in an emergency:



I Think I Am Lost

Daya’t al tareeg / Ana Da’eah

I Have A Fever

Endee Humma

I Need A Doctor

Ahtaj Tabib

The Pain Is Here

Al Alam huna

My Friend Is Hurt/Sick

Sadeeqee Mareed

My Car Has Broken Down

Sayaratee TaAtalat

Other Basic Arabic Words For Beginners

In Dubai, the common phrase for leaving a dinner table or moving through the middle of a crowd is affwaan. Here are some more phrases and sentences to supplement your basic Arabic vocabulary:

My Name Is…


Excuse Me

Law Samaht


Ma Aas-Salama






Law Samaht

Thank you


I Don’t Know

Ma a’ref or ma Adri

I Don’t Know Arabic

Ma atkallam Arabi


Na’am / La

I Have


I Want To Know

Abi A’aref / Bedi A’araf



It Is Normal


See You Tomorrow

Ashoofook Bukra or Ashoofak Baaker

Come Tomorrow

Taal Bukra or Taal Baaker

This brings us to the end of our basic Arabic words section to help you communicate with the locals. So, learning basic Arabic words and their meanings in English is an excellent way to improve the comfort level of local interactions. There are several institutes in Dubai where you can learn Arabic if you want to improve your language skills. Learning some common Arabic real estate jargon can also help you navigate the UAE property market more easily.

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Final Words

Embracing these Arabic idioms can serve as a unique gateway to understanding and appreciating the Emirati culture in its true essence. By using the Tandem app, you can connect with native Arabic speakers worldwide, enhancing your language skills and cultural understanding. Remember, language learning is a continuous journey. Keep practicing, stay curious, and you’ll find yourself making significant strides in your Arabic language proficiency.