Then vs. Now – 10 Arabic Phrases That Have Evolved Over Time

It’s only natural for language to evolve over time. The way we expressed certain meanings back in the day gradually developed into newer and different forms. ‘Naharak sa3eed’, for example, no longer belongs in means of communication. ‘El Seka Shemal walla el tareee2 batal?’ Here, we discover 10 Arabic phrases that have shifted over time. 

Taree2 batal – El seka shemal 

This expression indicates a sketchy journey. It suggests that something is tainted about a certain process. 

Via Twitter

La2ta – Nemra

In theatrical plays, characters were poked fun at by saying ‘nemra’ or ‘la2ta,’ indicating this person is trying to make a certain egotistical impression. 

Ma3loom – Haresh 

This one means ‘I get you.’

Via Macmillan Dictionary

E7terem zetak eneharda – Khaleek doghry

This one means to be straightforward and respectful, as in, don’t insult my intelligence by beating around the bush.  

We2e3t f dabadeebak – We2e3t f 7obak 

This means I am falling for you. Back in the day, it meant falling for ‘everything cool about you,’ and now it means falling for your ‘love.’

Via Medium

Ana esmy andaf men al nazeeh – Som3ety nedeefa 

This one means my reputation is respectable. Back in the day, its literal meaning was ‘my reputation is cleaner than decency itself.’ 

3aferen 3aleik – Bravo 

This one means ‘chapeau’ or good job. 

Via iStock

Keda tedkhol 3aleya men gheir e7em wala dastoor – Allah 7ay 

When you’re caught off guard, it is expressed through the idea of a spiritual entity that accompanies the surprise. In the later form, its ‘God is alive,’ a simpler form to indicate the same meaning. 

Enta ragel kolak ensaneya – Enta kolak zo2 

This means ‘you are full of humanity.’ Later on, it evolved to mean ‘you are full of respect.’ 

Via LA Times

Tayeboony ya fandim salamat – Kolo 7elw 

This one means ‘we are in good shape in all forms.’ Later on it basically started to mean ‘all is good.’ 

As you can see, the intensity of the meanings has lessened over time, and meanings are expressed through simpler forms. And not only that, but also back then, expressions were more literal, intricate, and metaphorically detailed. Now, portrayal of ideas are different, in the sense that they cut to the chase right away. 

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