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How Arabs say Salamtic, Sahtein, Afieh, and more Empathetic Phrases!

posted on: Jan 29, 2020


By: Ala Abed-Rabbo/Arab America Contributing Writer

What Arabs say when Someone is Sick


Arabs show different ways, including articulating phrases, when it comes to expressing compassion. Here are some empathetic phrases to say in various Arabic dialects as words of comfort for sympathy.  It’s known that the Arabic language is one of the most expressive languages.  It’s a source of pride and joy for those who conquer the challenge of learning it as a second language, especially, that it has at least 6 letters that don’t exist in English.

Arabs are taught to understand that human beings are weak, soft, and may face sicknesses, such as cold or flu. “Although modern medicine has come a long way in preventing and curing illness, many people find comfort in prayer, as well.”

The translation expression in English “Get well soon” is not very natural in Arabic. The closest is “atamanna lak alshefaa al3ajil,” (I wish you a speedy recovery). You can also say, “shafaka Allah,” May God cure you (masculine) or “shafakillah” (feminine).

The idiom “salamtak” (to a male) and “salamtik” (to a female) is the same as saying, “I hope you feel better,” or “get well soon” to someone ailing. The person who is ill usually responds by saying, Allah “yisalmak” (masculine) or Allah “yisalmik” (feminine), which means may “God keep you safe.” In Egyptian Arabic, one may say “alf salama aleyk(i) which translates to (I wish you a thousand health/get well).

What Arabs Express when Others Sneeze


Also, in Arabic, people say “sahha” (health) when another sneeze. Many people across the globe say “bless you” when someone sneezes. Most Arabs (Muslim) say “Alhamdulillah,” after a cold which means, “praise be to God.” Muslims tend to say “yarhamkum Allah” to the one who sneezes that translates as (may God have mercy on you).

What to say to an Arab after Taking a Bath?

After taking a shower, shaving, or getting a haircut, Arabs say “naeeman.” There is no absolute way of translating the term into English, but it is like blessing the people by congratulating them on looking cleaner/fresher. The response is “Allah yanaam aaleik(i), and the closest to its meaning in English is “may God give you gifts.”

Working Hard, How to Express?

Moreover, hard-work ranges from doing the things that need to be done to put ones’ self where they wish to be, even if it is not enjoyable, or directly gratifying or fulfilling. Therefore, Arabs respond to someone’s relentless work by saying, “Allah or yateek(i) al afia,” which means (may God give you health and all the good things).

The same phrase may also say to greet or wish a farewell when one knows that the other is working hard, and it can be said to anyone, whether known or unknown to the speaker. The best response for it is “Allah yaafik(i).”

Also, “Allah ykaouik(i)” or “Allah yuetik(i) alqua” is when someone wishes for others that God gives him or her strength. If people are not feeling well, many Arabs say “Allah yassbrak(ek),” which means (may God provide you with patience) to comfort them. The response to such phrases is “teslam(i), and it does not have one definition, but most people say it as “thank you” in certain situations wishing others not to get harmed from anything.

See no Evil

Transparent Language

Besides, Arabs say “Allah yib-id anak(ek) el shar” (God avoid evil towards you) when they want to wish someone well. People who do not feel well due to an illness or a sickness Arabs may relate the condition to the “evil eye,” and therefore pray to high power to remove all immorality away from that person wishing him or her healthy well-being.

Therefore, many use the term “Mash’Allah (God willed it) to show respect or appreciation for a person or happening and to avoid any ill-will. Other examples are houses, everything new, and the most crucial, a newborn baby.

Arabs say, “Allah yehmik(i) and it means (may God protect you), an example would be when someone is not in good health or if they accidentally fall. The answer is usually “shokran, wa Allah yehmik(i) kaman, (may God protect you also).

“Allah ytawel bi amrak(ek),” (may God give you long life) is also expressed by Arabs to others if the illness condition is severe or it can be said when people have passed through a life-threating circumstance.

The Example of Sahtein

After a delicious plate of food, many expresses and say, “enjoy your meal!” An illustration that people from the across the universe usually say. However, Arabs say a term that wishes people double health or a double portion of health and prosperity, and that word is “sahtein(w-afiya).” The phrase is rendered when one offers someone food, or vice-versa or if somebody is coughing. Many also use the word after a tasty glass of water or anything else. The response is: “A’ala Albak(ek),” which translates to “I wish your heart good health, also.”


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