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10 Very Important Arabic Words to Know

A lot of times when you are learning the most important words in a language, it is good to know phrases such as “where is the toilet?” or “how do you get to…”.

Yet, in Arabic, there are a few key words that you should learn before you get to all of those other essential phrases.  The reason is that the words make up the heart of the Arabic language, and are really used all of the time.  Not to mention, it will make the locals smile to hear you say them.


Insha’Allah (pronounced in-sha-la) literally means “God willing.”  This is a phrase that is said a lot in daily conversation.  When you use this word, you want to make sure you use it before something happens.  For example, you would say “Insha’Allah I will see you tomorrow” (God willing, I will see you tomorrow) or “Insha’Allah I will make a good grade on my exam” (God willing, I will make a good grade on my exam)


Hamdullah is the opposite of Insha’Allah.  You say Insha’Allah before something happens and Hamdullah after it happens.  Hamdullah means “thank God” and you use it to thank God for something good that has already happened.  So, going back to the example with the exam you can say “Hamdullah I made a good grade on my exam” (Thank God, I made a good grade on my exam).

Another typical time you say Hamdullah is after you are finished with a meal. Instead of saying a prayer before the meal as most Westerners do, it is common to say “Hamdullah” after it.


This word is pretty straightforward.  Shokran means “Thank you“.


Merhaba literally means “God’s love” or “God loves you”.  In the Arabic language, however, it is used as a greeting and means “welcome“.


I always thought that Yalla was a fun word to say.  Yalla means “Let’s go” and we would say it anytime it we were ready to leave a place.


Habibi (habibti for girls) means “my beloved“.  It is a term of endearment used between a man and a woman, and it can also be used between good friends.

Salam Ou Alaikoum

Salam Ou Alaikoum literally means “peace be upon you.”  It is used when you greet people and also before you part with them.  So, it is kind of like the “hello” and “goodbye” in the Arabic language.


Masha’Allah is a word that you use to show that you are happy about a good thing that happpened to someone else.  For example, if your co-worker just had a baby and told you about it, you would say “Masha’Allah”.  Other examples of times when you would use this word are when a friend buy’s a new house or if someone shows you a picture of their child.  Basically, if someone talks about something good in their life, say Masha’Allah.


Naam means yes.  I also heard the word for no a lot, which is “la”.


Saha literally means “health” and is used in a couple of ways.  In some Arabic speaking countries, you say Saha when someone sneezes.  It would be the equivalent of saying “bless you” in English.  Another way to use Saha is to say it when you get something new such as clothes or a hair cut.  Or, you can use the word Saha if you eat a dish you like.

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