If you’ve traveled to an Arabic speaking country, I’m sure you’ve heard the word khalas at least a few times. Same goes for akeed. Most learners rush to tackle the most formal aspects of the language—paying little to no attention to Arabic slang. While becoming familiar with formal Arabic words is incredibly important, slang words are crucial when it comes to really becoming conversational. This holds true for all languages, but it’s particularly important when it comes to the Arabic language, as it encompasses nearly 30 different dialects across different nations (and even across different regions in specific countries).
As you saw in the video above, our Speaking of Arabic series will help you navigate the different aspects of the Arabic language to strengthen your skills and expand your knowledge. This short video offers a look into two of the most common Arabic slang words. Let’s dive right into it!
1. Khalas = stop/enough/done
Are you tired of hearing people argue over sports or politics at the dinner table? The meaning of “khalas!” is the English equivalent of “enough!” or “stop!”. While the definition of khalas translates to “done” or “finished,” it has a variety of different uses. It’s ideal when you’ve had enough of something.
One of my favorite ways to practice my listening skills is by watching TV shows and taking note of new slang words. While watching the Egyptian version of Grand Hotel, I heard a new mother use the word khalas when urging her crying baby to calm down.
2. Akeed = sure/of course/certainly
Akeed in Arabic is often used to emphasize an affirmative answer. It means “of course,” or “sure!” You might use it in place of “yes” or “na’am” when asked if you like going to the movies.
The first time I heard the word akeed was during my unforgettable summer in Morocco. I stayed with a family who, as is common in the culture, took me in as one of their own. They were so kind and hospitable—they immediately greeted me with hugs, kisses, and an eager “ahlan w sahlan!” (welcome!) the minute I walked through the door. Angsty to see the beautiful Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca, I asked the younger sister if she’d be willing to come with me. “Akeed, Habibty” (of course, my love), she said, with the brightest smile on her face.
3. ‘Azeem! = great/fantastic/terrific
You may use this word when wanting to say “great!” Did your friend accept your dinner invitation this evening? ‘Aazem!
4. Tab’an! = of course
This word can be interchanged with akeed. It also serves the same purpose as “sure,” and “of course.”
5. Walaw = it’s ok/don’t worry/don’t mention it
Want to say “it’s ok” when someone apologizes for accidentally bumping into you? Walaw is your best bet. It’s a casual way of saying “it’s ok,” or “no problem.”
6. Keefak/ik? = how are you?
You may be used to asking people, “keef Halak/ik” when asking how they’re doing. Next time, try simply saying “Keefak/ik” for a more casual way to ask, “how are you?”
7. Tamaam = okay/alright
You can use this to say “fine” or “okay.” You can also ask a friend “Kollo tamaam?” to ask “everything okay?”
8. Aah = yeah
You may very well use “na’am” to say “yes,” but if you want to sound more like a local, try using “aah” as a more casual “yeah” instead!
When I first started learning Arabic, I focused exclusively on formal phrases and everyday vocabulary–I figured it would help me get by during my trips to Arabic-speaking countries. While it obviously enabled me to communicate my own thoughts and needs, I found myself lost when I heard others engage in casual conversations. I quickly realized that, much like in English, most people used tons of slang words in their everyday lives. Whether you’re learning Arabic for professional reasons or to better understand locals during your upcoming trip to Amman, it’s time to incorporate slang knowledge into your study sessions. Not only will learning some Arabic slang help you feel more comfortable in everyday situations, but it’s also crucial when it comes to truly understanding the culture and traditions of your target language. Happy learning!