View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

‘Shawarma’ Makes it to English Dictionary But What About These Arabic Words?

Huda Tabrez reports in the Gulf News that Shawarma (hear it pronounced), the Arabic fast food, has entered, along with 100 other words, into the latest edition of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary but Gulf News readers are making a case for the inclusion of these Arabic words:

Khalass: Done; over; enough; finished.

Yalla: Let’s go!

Falafel: A fried ball or patty [thanks D].

Salah: Prayer

Bukra: Tomorrow (a little like the Spanish mañana)

Majnoon: mad.

Fil mish-mish: ‘When the apricots bloom.’ Check link to see how this is used.

Mafee shai jaded: Nothing is new [Thanks Zahid].

Yakhi: Literally ‘my brother’ but colloquially, ‘bro’, ‘dude’, ‘guy’.

Shoo Hadha: Means ‘What is this?’

Zain: Fine; beautiful; wonderful.

Habibi: A term of endearment meaning Beloved; dear friend.

Mafi Mushkil: No problem.

Khalli Walli: Dismissed; Leave this.

Tamam: OK; good; fine; healthy; generous.

Check out the full article and offer your suggested words to be added to the English dictionaries at:

Huda Tabrez, 'Now, Say Shawarma in English', Gulf News, 17 July 2009.

Please leave a comment below if my definitions are not correct.

Learn Arabic in the UAE to Combat Alzheimer’s, ETE.
Learning Arabic in the UAE and the Gulf, ETE, 8 November 2007.
Why We Should Learn Arabic, ETE, 17 June 2008.
Spoken Arabic Step-by-Step by John Kirkbridge, Reviewing Books and Movies, 8 November 2007.
Teach Yourself Gulf Arabic, RBAM, 22 November 2008.
Goodword English Arabic Dictionary, RBAM, 9 November 2008.
Don’t they Know it’s Friday, RBAM, 6 June 2008. (Great book on customs in the UAE and Gulf region).

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Delicious Chicken Shawarma.