16 Beautiful Arabic Words (Meanings & Origins)

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

We have said it before and we’ll say it again, Arabic words are full of emotion and often have deeper meanings than a dictionary might lead you to believe.

Even those used casually day by day have a profound way to be taken if you understand the poetic strength and sincerity behind them.

Each Arabic word paints a picture, every phrase tells a story, and given that one word has many interpretations, you can often find a more lyrical, passionate expression in them.

Beautiful Arabic words are often chosen as names; for that reason, you may recognize a few of today’s offerings.

There are so many root words with evoking alternative meanings to choose from in this eloquent language.

Despite the plethora of beautiful Arabic words, we have sifted through some of the most commonly heard and used to find 166 of the most poetic to present to you – enjoy!

1. Sadeeq صديق

An important everyday word that you will hear at the end of most greetings is Sadeeq صديق friend.

What do we value most in a friend?

We want a trustworthy confidant, someone who is sincere.

The root of the word Sadeeq is the word sidqصدق, which translates as truth, genuineness, and veracity.

What better way to call someone your friend than to label them as somebody you trust wholeheartedly?

Someone you can count upon no matter what!

The Arabic version of the expression “A friend in need is a friend indeed” is a reflection of this as it uses the word al-Deeq, which is distress.

الصديق وقت الضيق

aS-Sadeeq waqt al-Deeq

A friend in need is a friend indeed/ A person you can rely on in times of distress.

Trust is a cornerstone of friendship, but there’s nothing quite like the colorful nuances of the Arabic language to do sentimental justice and bring a word to life.

2. Ta’burni تقربني

You may have stumbled upon this morbidly shadowed phrase in our ways to say I love you in Arabic article. The literal translation of Taqburni تقربني is “I hope you bury me”.

But this expression is less dark and more beautiful than it first appears.

The significance insinuates a lot more depth and should truly be interpreted as “I hope I don’t outlive you, because I couldn’t live without you.”

This beautiful Arabic word is the intense Levantine Arabic way to say “I love you”!

3. Dawit داويت

In very simple terms Dawit داويت means “heal” or “cure” and is associated with medicine as its origin is the word dawa’ دواء but it is typically used metaphorically.

Especially in literature, music, and poetry.

Here the use speaks of spiritual healing or emotional healing and the word can mean to put back together or repair metaphorically.

Dawit rouhi داويت روحي means “you healed my soul and put it back together”.

Another interpretation of the word is “remedy”.

4. ’amal أمل

Another beautiful word that has made our list is ‘amal أمل which means “hope” or “aspiration”.

It is a prominent name for daughters given its elegance and it too features in popular literary and artistic works.

The late famous Egyptian singer, songwriter, and film actress Umm Kalthoum sang a now iconic song named ‘amal Hayati أمل حياتي (The hope of my life).

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The haunting, repeated refrain throughout is the following;

أمل حياتي يا حب غالي ما ينتهيش

يا أحلى غنوة، غنوة سمعها قلبي ولا تتنسيش

“The hope of my life, my dear love, does not end

O sweetest song, a song that my heart heard and won’t forget”

When we have strong desires or goals they imprint.

Hope is a beautiful thing, and we all have aspirations, goals, and desires. ‘Amal mentioned in the Qur’an.

One of the best ways to bring your hopes into reality is to do good deeds, the word for deeds also shares a root.

5. Showq شوق

Showq شوق is by itself a meaningful Arabic word that expresses a yearning or longing that takes hold from within.

Your deepest desire so to speak, but one that is so strong and uncontrollable that it can’t be ignored.

The word forms part of the root of the phrase ‘ash-shta’tulekاشتقتلك, it is a powerful way to say “I miss you”.

6. Ghalabni غلبني

At first glance, this next beautiful Arabic word may not appear to hold the same positive edge that the words we have shown you so far have demonstrated.

Ghalabni غلبني translates to something along the lines of “it defeated me”. But a deeper sense of the word is to say “it conquered me” or “it took away my defenses”.

A better translational use would be for when something winds you over!

Its placement in today’s shortlist isn’t happenstance either.

The afore mention Egyptian singer Umm Kalthum has another popular song named “Ghalabni ash-showq” “غلبن الشوق”.

With what you have learned above you can see this translates as “the yearning and longing took over me and got the better of me”.

Below is an excerpt that shows the intense imagery and emotion of the song;

غلبني الشوق وغلبني، وليل البعد ذوبني

Ghalabni ash-showq w-ghalabni, wa-leyl al b’oud dhawibni

Desire conquered me and the sleepless nights melted me…

7. Eishq عشق 

You’ll find multiple words for love in the Arabic world, each with its own classification of depth. Some argue there are as many as ten different types or stages of love.

We have no direct equivalent to Eishq عشق, a word that describes an intense and passionate love or burning desire. It also shares consonants with the Arabic word for ‘poppy’ a beautiful red flower.

It borrows its roots from the Arabic word shaghf (شغف) which translates as passion and is sometimes used as a name for boys and girls.

You might think passion is a zealous word and would be reserved for exceptional use but Arabic speakers use it pretty commonly in a relationship

Lovers will say Baashaak بعشقك the conjugated form, whilst some dialects such as Egyptian will drop the ‘b’  to say I love you.

Eishq has filtered its way into many Arabic dialects, such as  Persian (عشق) and Turkish (aşk).

8. Azhar أزهر

Azhar أزهر is another beautiful arab word that is often used as a name. The word Azhar زهر comes from Zahara meaning to bloom and sometimes to shine.

Azhar can be translated as blossom and often the name Azhara means flower.

The word Azhar is used in some sweet expressions. Here’s one we like;

“أينما زرعك الله ازهر”

Yanama zaraeak Allah Azhar

“Wherever God plants you, bloom.”

It can be interpreted as no matter your surroundings, situation, or circumstances, shine and do your best to be your best.

9. Nour نور

If you are familiar, then you may know the word nour means “light” or “illumination” and insinuates vibrancy. It is often used as the root word for many names.

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A person named An-Nur, Noura, or Nouran نوران is a person who glows or radiates, and the name Noreenنورين. translates a doubled “nours” someone with an abundance of light.

We often refer to light as a positivity that flows from someone or in reference to intelligence as their brilliance but Arabs use it more romantically.

They commonly refer to loved ones as the light of their eyes or hearts; nour aieny نور عيني (the light of my eyes) and nour ‘alby نور قلبي (the light of my heart).

The above phrases feature heavily in many songs and poetry.

10. Shams شمس

A great word for any beginner to know in Arabic is shams شمس which is the Arabic word for “sun”.

This is the literal translation as it is used as a noun, but also refers to the quality of the light that the sun produces.

So, much like we might call someone our sunshine the word shams can be used to describe a person.

Especially one with great accolades. Where we may say star or superstar for an actor or musician, Arabs may use shams in its place.

The sun is a star after all!

The iconic Lebanese singer Najwa Karam, is often referred to by the title Shams Al-Oghnya Al-Arabya شمسالأغنيةالعربية which means the sun of the Arabic song but refers to her being a superstar within the Arabic music industry.

Grandiose and successful events can be described as Shams al (insert event) in a titular manner. Shams as sometimes a family surname and occasionally a first name.

11. Qamar قمر

After including the sun, we have to add the moon. Perhaps more importantly even!

The Islamic calendar or Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar that totals 354 or 355 days. It is invaluable for calculating religious holidays and rituals, such as fasting and pilgrimage.

It is safe to say the Arabic culture has a considerable connection with the moon and so there is a lot of symbology when using the word.

The word for moon is Qamarقمر the qaff letter is dropped in many dialects making it ‘amar.

The moon is admired from afar, it is something that shines out of reach, an object of dazzling radiance that is untouchable.

If someone is asking for the moon عم تيطلب القمر (you are asking for the moon) then they expect the impossible from you.

To be compared to the moon is a huge form of flattery. There is no better way to describe someone as beautiful than to use the word ‘amar.

You might even go the extra length and call them ‘amar arbaatashar قمر اربعتاشر- a phrase that translates to the fourteenth moon. This is because the moon is always at its fullest on the fourteenth day of the Islamic calendar.

12. Rahma رحمه

Rahma is an old word straight out of the Qur’an that translates directly to Mercy.

While it is tied heavily to religion being considered a Godly trait in Islam it also means sympathy and kindness.

As does any word or name with the same triconsonantal root R-H-M, such as Rahim or Rahima.

The Arabic version of R.I.P. or rest in peace is Rahmat Allah’aleeh رحمه الله عليه equating to may God’s mercy be upon him.

The mourners implore that the person is treated with sympathy, kindness, and mercy in the afterlife.

13. Tohooran طهوراً

The root of this word is Tohir which means purify therefore Toohoran طهوراً means purity and cleanliness.

It is less sterile than it seems, beautiful women throughout literature and poetry were described as perfect using the word Tahira طاهره to signify they were pure, virginal, and unspoiled.

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The Name Tahira is similar to the name Chastity. There was an Iranian poet and theologian named Fatemeh Baraghani in the early 1800s who very controversially unveiled herself in an assemblage of men during the Conference of Badasht.

She was later famously dubbed Táhirih “the pure one” so you can see the word bled into many regional dialects.

Today the word is commonly used as a way to say “get well soon” the purity spoken of to offer comfort to someone during illness.

14. Yaqeen يقين

Yaqeen يقين is the beautiful Arabic word for “certainty” on a deeper esoteric level it implies a knowledgeable consciousness a pearl of confident wisdom.

It holds high esteem in Islam and Sufism as it is the summit of the path to sainthood or Weyala a spiritual and intellectual journey. Within this concept there are three pillars of certainty;

The first degree; ilm-ul-yaqeen, is that certainty is the result of simple knowledge, a common reference being if you see smoke there is a fire whether you see the fire or not.

The second degree is ayn-ul-yaqeen, the vision of certainty you know something is burning if you see the fire itself. Sometimes referred to as knowledge by Presence.

The final degree haqq-ul-yaqeen, is a certainty gained by knowledge unlimited by intellect and transformed into an experience and thus experience into knowledge.

If someone uses the term Yaqeen it is never lightly.

Trust anyone who says Ana aala yaqeen min aamri نا على يقين من أمري because it means I’m fully sure and confident in this matter- they know what they are talking about.

15. Firdaws (فردوس)

This word is one of many Arab words that are equivalent to heaven, literally translating as the garden or paradise.

It is mentioned in the Qur’an;

”إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ كَانَتْ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ الْفِرْدَوْسِ نُزُلًا “

“Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds will have Gardens of Paradise as a lodging.”

We don’t need to tell you twice that it doesn’t get any more beautiful than that.

16. Naiman نعيماً

A similar word to the above, Naiman نعيماً can also mean paradise but refers more to a state of being than a physical place like Firdaws.

The root means blessing or bliss. If you live in Naeemنعيم, you live in a blissful place.

However, in Egypt, they use it very casually to compliment someone fresh-washed out of the shower or back from the barbers.

This might seem a little random as it’s an elegant word to greet someone freshly showered with but it means the height of bliss or to be in the happiest condition you can be and after a hard day’s labor in a hot country there’s nothing like being clean!

Beautiful Arabic Words – Final Thoughts

With its glorious depths and lyricism, it’s always a good idea to take a moment to look at the origin when you learn a new word in Arabic.

It probably shelters a profound meaning within its etymology.

Arabic words are used in so many contexts that when you stop to analyze them there is a newfound appreciation whether you are a beginner or intermediate student.

You don’t have to look far to find a beautiful word in Arabic. Some are merely musical in sound and others reveal a heartfelt core beneath something that seems so simple when taken at face value.

If you have enjoyed a deeper look at the language, we suggest learning the origins of Ahlan wa Sahlan; The everyday greeting with surprisingly profound roots.

Want an easier way to practice and learn Arabic? Check out our comprehensive guide on the best app to learn Arabic.

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