Today's guide will walk you through the simplest ways on how to say "yes" in Egyptian Arabic, as well as the different phrases you can use to imply excitement, certainty, and approval.
You will also learn how to verbalize the varying degrees of enthusiasm you have for doing something.
Yalla, let's dive in!
How do you say "yes" in Arabic
Aywa is the simplest and easiest way to say yes.
Maryam, are you coming out on Thursday?
yes it is coming
|Mariam, are you going to the trip next Thursday?||Mariam, enty gaya elkhrouga du best elkhamees ely gy?||Maryam, are you coming out on Thursday?|
|Yes I go||Aywa, gaya.||yes it is coming|
In this example, Mariam's friend asks her if she is going to the trip on Thursday, and Mariam confirms.
- A note on the English translation and its original Arabic equivalent: جاى - جاية (Gy-Gaya) means "to come" in Arabic, but I preferred to translate it as "go" because it is more appropriate and common to say "go" instead of using "come" in English.
Ah is short and sweet. It's also informal. It's the same sound when someone is in pain and says "Ahhhh."
Mohamed: Don't you want to eat anything?
Ahmed: Uh, very hungry. let's go!
|Mohamed: Don't you want to eat?||Mohamed: Mesh 'ayez takul?||Mohamed: Don't you want to eat anything?|
|Ahmed: Yes, I am very hungry. Let's go!||Ahmed: Ah ga 'aan gedan. Jalla bena!||Ahmed: Uh, very hungry. let's go!|
3. Mmm- Aha
It's even shorter and still works. But it doesn't really show much attention or enthusiasm at the speaker's end. You want to continue with another word from the list, e.g. "Tamam" or "Mashy".
Now for more enthusiastic expressions in Egyptian Arabic:
"Wesh" is very informal and used between younger generations. If you use it with a middle-aged person or an older person in general, they might not even understand what you mean. Save it for your Millennial and Gen Z friends.
Group Rahin concert Marawan Pablo?
|Guys, are we going to Marwan Pablo's concert?||Gama‘a, Rayheen Haflet Marwan Pablo?||Group Rahin concert Marawan Pablo?|
In this example, two friends make plans and think out loud about going to Marwan Pablo's concert. Marwan Pablo is one of the most famous and well-known Egyptian rappers in Egypt. Egyptian hip hop and rap music is the latest trend in the Egyptian music scene.
And so, as readers, we can deduce that this conversation is between young people, and hence "Weshhhh" or "Wesh" is appropriate to use.
This is another neutral and regular equivalent for "wesh". This could be used in all contexts.
What do you think we'll take with us from Dahab on New Year's Eve?
Seriously or not?
Seriously! Sure Salvation!
|What do you think of going to Dahab on New Year's Eve?||Eh Ray'ak netla' Dahab fi Ras El Sana?||What do you think we'll take with us from Dahab on New Year's Eve?|
|Mmm, okay||Mmm mash.||Mhm okay.|
|Seriously or not?||Shoulder Or?||Seriously or not?|
|No no seriously. Sure, let's go!||Laa begs begs! Akeed Khalas Rayheen.||Not really difficult! Sure, let's go!|
Tab'an is quite similar to Akeed. Both are used generically and in all contexts.
Muhammad finished the presentation? The meeting is also an hour!
Of course I finished it. Certainly, I mean, I will not enter the meeting without being present.
|Mohamed, did you finish the presentation? The meeting lasts an hour!||Mohamed, khalast elPräsentation? El Igtimaa' kaman sa'a!||Muhammad finished the presentation? The meeting is also an hour!|
|Of course I finished it. You certainly won't walk into the meeting unprepared.||Taba'an khalasto. Akeed ya'ni mesh hadkhul el igtimaa' men gheir makoun mehaddar.||Of course I finished it. Certainly, I mean, I will not enter the meeting without being present.|
Let's look at another example:
Ahmed is aware that he is leaving food in Arabic. I am very hungry.
Of course I took him with me. Do not worry.
|Ahmed, don't you dare leave the food in the car. I'm so hungry.|
(**Don't you dare, used affectionately here. It literally means, be aware)
|Ahmed, ew 'a teseeb el akl fil 'arabeya. Ana ga 'ana gedan!||Ahmed is aware that he is leaving food in Arabic. I am very hungry.|
|Of course I took it with me. Do not worry.||Tab 'an ahad to ma'aya. Ma te'la2ish.||Of course I took him with me. Do not worry.|
In these two examples you would find that both Mohamed and Ahmed are asked questions that they find ridiculous and so they follow "Tab'an" with a different pronunciation like "Akeed" or "Don't worry".
Tamam is an essential word to learn in Egyptian Arabic. It literally means 'all's well' but is used in many different contexts.
|Ok / perfect / all good||OK||at|
What's new, Ghada? What are you doing?
god is alright everything is OK.
|How are you, Ghada? How are you doing?||Eih el akhbar ya Ghada? Amla, oder?||What's new, Ghada? What are you doing?|
|To be honest, it's fine. All is well.||Wallahi tamam kowayessa. Kolo Tamam.||god is alright everything is OK.|
In this example, you can see that Ghada used "Tamam" in response to "How are you?" as well as in expression: "Kolo Tamam"
“Kolo Tamam” meaning “All is well” is a useful expression in Egyptian Arabic to indicate that everything is great, everything is going smoothly.
Here's an interesting one. “Mashy” literally means walking or walking. It's the Egyptian way of saying "Okay," but in certain cases it means, "Okay. Go on."
Meaning: That works/goes. (literally: go)
The library is closed. we have to walk
|The library closes. We must go.||El mektaba bete'efel. Mehtageen nemshy.||The library is closed. we have to walk|
Can we go to the supermarket to buy cheese and bread?
Just go fast.
|Can we walk past the supermarket and buy some cheese and bread?||Momken ne'adi 'ala Supermarkt negeeb gebna w'eish?||Can we go to the supermarket to buy cheese and bread?|
|OK, but be quick.||Mashy bs bsor‘a||Just go fast.|
It's also a good way to shut up someone if they're bugging you into doing something.
8. Okay - Okay
Plain and simple and borrowed from English.
This does not depend on a particular social class and all Egyptians understand the term because it is quite simple and easy.
This is an informal expression used to express your enthusiasm for an upcoming event or future plan. It literally means jasmine flowers, which is quite interesting because it's just a way of indicating "sweetness". Foll is suitable for use with friends and fellow colleagues.
We need a coffee before we head out
Phil. The Starbucks is nearby.
|We need coffee before we head out.||Mehtageen ahwa abl ma netla' 'ala eltaree'||We need a coffee before we head out|
|OK. There is a Starbucks nearby||Foll. fi Starbucks orayeb.||Phil. The Starbucks is nearby.|
Eshta is quite similar to foll. It is informal and used between friends and people of the same age group. This is also used by young people – mostly younger millennials.
Eshta literally means "cream", sweet tasting food to express enthusiasm.
Can we meet up tomorrow after work?
Cream. let's go.
|How about we meet up tomorrow after work?||Teegy net'abel bokra ba'd elshoghl?||Can we meet up tomorrow after work?|
|Alright, let's go.||Ashta. Jalla bena!||Cream. let's go.|
If Eshta is primarily used by younger millennials, then Gamed is primarily used by people in their early to mid-twenties. The word "Gamed" means: Tough. It is also usually used to describe someone as hot.
Is this date suitable for you, should we work on music in it?
|Does this time work for you to work on music together?||El ma'ad dah yenasbak neshtaghal 'ala el mazika feeh?||Is this date suitable for you, should we work on music in it?|
Another interesting and informal term. Instead of picking a fragrant flower or a delicious cream, you can just say "Halawa". This is used in the same context as eshta and foll to indicate enthusiasm.
In the last example, you can swap "Gamed" for Halawa and it would still indicate the same enthusiasm for future plans. This would be your way of saying you look forward to plans.
Literally: It's already happened
|Consider it done (addressed to a second person, male)|
Consider it done (addressed to a second person, female)
|My E'tebro Hass|
Mit E'tebreeh Hass
|Consider it done|
Guess it happened
I like this. When someone asks you a favor, "Hassal" is such a perfect response. It's reassuring to the listener because it means "It's already happened," so stop worrying about the assignment.
This article is very difficult and I need your help.
happens. If you want, we can sit down and learn.
|This topic is so difficult and I need your help.||El mada de sa 'ba awi w mehtaga mosa 'ditak.||This article is very difficult and I need your help.|
|Consider it done. We can sit down and study whenever you want.||Hassal. Elwa't ely tehbeeh no 'oud nezaker.||happens. If you want, we can sit down and learn.|
15. God willing
Well, well, did you think we wouldn't include Insha'allah in the article?
Insha'alla is the perfect way to officially say yes, but not really. Would you like to reschedule this conversation? Say Insha'Allah. It is the official secret weapon of all Egyptian fathers.
The Egyptians have a joke that when mothers say insha'allah, they mean "yes", while fathers mean exactly the opposite when they use the same expression, only delaying the ultimately disappointing "no".
I'll see you on exam day, Nader.
|See you on test day, Nader.||Ashoufak, du bist der Imtihaan Nader.||I'll see you on exam day, Nader.|
Mom, can I go to Alexandria with my friends?
oh mom please
Okay, so Gott will.
|Mom, can I go to Alexandria with my friends?||Mama, momken arouh rehlit is kinderiya ma'a sohabi?||Mom, can I go to Alexandria with my friends?|
|ask your father||Es'ali Baba||ask dad|
(literally: I beg you)
|From Mother Argouki||oh mom please|
|Okay. Gotteswille.||Tayeb insha'Allah||Okay, so Gott will.|
16. Leeh La'?
|Why not?||Leeh La'?||Why not?|
Leeh la' is the odd yes. If you're thinking about doing something and you think it out loud with a friend, hopefully someone will say, "Why not?"
Can we taste this coffee?
Why not? Let's go.
|How about we taste this coffee?||Teegy negrab el'ahwa de?||Can we taste this coffee?|
|Why not? Let us.||Leeh la? Yalla.||Why not? Let's go.|
Literally: We made an agreement/We made a deal
|Okay, it's a deal.||Khalas Etafa’.na||OK, we agreed|
Etfa'na is what you use to seal the deal. This is your official word of consent to finalize plans.
Menna: It suits you. When do we meet for research? hill ok
Salma: No, the hills are difficult for me. Four o'clock at night?
Bassant: Me too, the hills are difficult. Four past seven is better.
Menna: Okay, we agreed. Four o'clock at 7.
|Menna: What times do you work to meet to work on research? is tuesday ok||Menna: Yenasibkom emta net’abel ‘ashan el bahth? El talat okay?||Menna: It suits you. When do we meet for research? hill ok|
|Salma: No, Tuesday is difficult for me. Wednesday night?||Salma: La talat sa 'b ma 'aya. Du bist der Arba'belil?||Salma: No, the hills are difficult for me. Four o'clock at night?|
|Passer-by: Tuesday is also difficult for me. Wednesday at 7 a.m. works.||Passer-by: I am kaman el talat sa'b. You are the arba 'elsa 'a 7 ahsan.||Bassant: Me too, the hills are difficult. Four past seven is better.|
|Menna: Okay, it's a deal. It's Wednesday at 7.||Menna: Khalas is a fool. You bist die arba 'elsa' a||Menna: Okay, we agreed. Four o'clock at 7.|
Finally, we have "Hader," a term meaning "will do." If someone is asking you for something and there is no room for negotiation, you would use "Hader". If you also want to get someone to nag about something, quarrel is the magic word.
Hager's mother asks her to bring medicine from the pharmacy on her way back from university.
Hajar Uday to the pharmacy, bring the medicine and you come
|Hager, go past the pharmacy and get the medicine on the way back.||Hager 'addi 'ala el saydaleya, hati el dawa w enty gaya.||Hajar Uday to the pharmacy, bring the medicine and you come|
|OK, go.||Hader ya mama.||ready mom|
Turn off the TV and join us
A little presence.
|Turn off the TV and join us||Etfi el television with ta'ala ou'oud meaning.||Turn off the hill and join us|
|OK, I'll do it right away.||Hader Kaman Showaya.||A little presence|
Before we conclude our guide, the following quick note is for our readers who originally started their Arabic learning journey by learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). You learned that the word _Na'am means _Yes. However, in Egyptian the word na'am means 'sorry' in the sense that you did not hear correctly what the speaker said and you are asking him to repeat what he has just said.
Do not confuse standard modern Arabic Na'am with Egyptian Na'am because they have different meanings. The Egyptian Na'am is always formulated as a question, never as an affirmative.
Let's look at an example:
Here's a conversation between two strangers on the subway
May I please pass?
can i pass
Oh sure, of course. Forgiveness.
|Can I come over please||Might give an 'adi law?||May I please pass?|
|Can I come over?||Momken a'adi?||can i pass|
|Oh yes of course. Forgiveness.||Ah, Akeed taban. Asef.||Oh sure, of course. Forgiveness.|
InEgyptian Arabic, sometimes women repeat the word Na'am and it becomes "Na'am Na'am Na'aaam?" It's a slightly vulgar way of saying, "Take back what you just said."
Watch the first minute of the following video for a better understanding:
It has been played on television by actresses to portray characters of Alexandrian origin who belong to a specific working class that is not considered highly educated.
I hope this guide has helped you express the different types and levels of saying yes. What's your favorite word today?
Be sure to check out our next two related guidesHow to say no in ArabicAndHow do you say maybe in Arabic.
Until then: Bye 😊
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