8 Most Common Arabic Proverbs and Idioms

Guest PostFebruary 21, 20212-min read

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Like every other language, Arabic is full of idiomatic expressions. With 422 million speakers across 25 countries, the diverse Arab culture provides umpteen Arabic proverbs and idioms. We will take a look at the most common Arabic expressions that are understood throughout the Arab world.

It’s important to keep in mind though that the pronunciation of the words might differ depending on the region. Even within the Middle East, these idiomatic expressions can vary from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, for example. These Arabic idioms should help you understand the people better, and help you level up your language skills to sound more like a native speaker!

طب الجرة على ثمها بتطلع البنت لأمها

Translation: Tip the jug over on its head, 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

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

Translation: They are only two monkeys and a guard.

Meaning: They are very few people.

يا جبل ما يهزك ريح

Tanslation: 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

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

Translation: Excess is the brother of shortage.

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

طنجرة ولقت غطاها

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

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.

Now that you have the most popular Arabic phrases under your belt, put them into practice! The Tandem app lets you connect with native Arabic speakers all over the world. We are the largest language learning community out there where you can practice speaking Arabic via text, voice notes, and video calling. Learn Arabic by using our in-app translation feature to help compose a message or translate an incoming one and the correction feature to help your Tandem partner learn and progress in the Arabic language.

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