Vegetables: خضراوات

Back to food, let’s get healthy and talk vegetables.

Have I missed your favorite? Leave it in comments and I’ll add it!

“Vegetables” is خضراوات (khaḍrāwāt), which comes from the root خضر, “to be green.” A particular vegetable (especially if you’re growing it and are referring to it in the botanical sense) could also be called نَباتي (nabātī), from the root نبت, “to grow, sprout.”

  • artichoke: خُرشوف (khurshūf)
  • asparagus: هِليَون (hilyawn)
  • avocado: أفوكادو (afūkādū)
  • beets: بَنجَر (banjar, From Greek, I think? Where beetroot is “panjar,” apparently?)
  • broccoli: بروكلي (brūkulī)
  • cabbage (includes things like kale): كُرُنب (kurunb)
  • carrot: جزر (jazar)
  • cauliflower: قَرنَبيط (qarnabīṭ)
  • celery: كَرَفس (karafs)
  • chicory (includes things like endive and radicchio for you fancy salad types): هِندِباء (hindibāʾ)
  • cucumber: خيار (khiyār)
  • eggplant: باذَنجان (bādhanjān)
  • garlic: ثوم (thūm)
  • leeks: كَراث (karāth)
  • lettuce: خَس (khass)
  • mushroom: فُطر (fuṭr)
  • okra: بامية (bāmīyah)
  • onion: بَصَل (baṣal)
  • parsnip: جزر أبيض (jazar abyaḍ, “white carrot”)
  • peas: بازِلاء (bāzilāʾ)
  • pepper (red, green): فِلفِل (filfil)
    • green pepper: فلفل أخضر (filfil akhḍar)
    • red pepper: فلفل أحمر (filfil aḥmar)
    • yellow pepper: فلفل أصفر (filfil aṣfar)
  • potato: بَطاطا (baṭāṭā) or بَطاطَس (baṭāṭas)
  • pumpkin: قَرعة (qarʿah)
  • radish: فُجُل (fujl)
  • spinach: سَبانِخ (sabānikh)
  • squash: قَرعة (qarʿah) or possibly إسكواش (iskwāsh)
  • string beans: فاصوليا (fāṣūliyā)
  • sweet potato/yam (I know they’re different but as far as I know Arabic doesn’t distinguish): بَطاطا حَلوة (baṭāṭā ḥalwah)
  • tomato: طَماطِم (ṭamāṭim)
  • turnip: لِفت (lift; careful not to say “laft” because that could mean “admonition” or “warning”)
  • zucchini: كوسة (kūsah)
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Meats: لحوم

Keeping with a food theme, here are Arabic words for some common meats. This is a fairly straightforward list, since as we do in English for everything except beef, Arabic uses the same vocabulary for the meat as it does for the animal it came from. I’m including a few non-halal (حلال, “permitted,” akin to “Kosher” if you like) meats, because (and this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway) not everybody who speaks Arabic is a Muslim.

Have I missed your favorite? Leave it in comments and I’ll add it!

Meat, لَحم (laḥm):

  • Beef: لحم بَقَر (laḥm baqar, “meat of a cow”), لحم بَقَري (laḥm baqarī)
    • Hamburger: هامبرغر (hāmburghar)
    • Steak: شَريحة لحم (sharīḥat laḥm, literally “slice of meat”)
    • Veal: لحم عَجل (laḥm ʿajl)

NOTE: you can use either form (with or without that final ي) for all of these, so I’m only going to mention both forms here at the beginning

  • Chicken: لحم دَجاج (laḥm dajāj), though you may also see the Turkish طاووق (ṭāwūq) or the Egyptian colloquial فراخ (firākh)
  • Turkey: لحم ديك رومي (laḥm dīk rūmī)
  • Lamb: لحم خُروف (laḥm khurūf)
    • Mutton: لحم ضأن (laḥm ḍaʾn)
  • Goat: لحم ماعِز (laḥm māʿiz)
  • Camel: لحم إبل (laḥm ibl)

NOTE: there are a lot of different Arabic words for different kinds of camel, but إبل is the most generic and so it is best for this context.

  • Pork: لحم خَنزير (laḥm khanzīr)
    • Ham: لحم خَنزير again, or لحم خَنزير مُدَخَّن (laḥm khanzīr mudakhkhan, “smoked pork”)
  • Bacon (halal bacon can be made from turkey, beef, even fish, provided it’s prepared in the correct way): بَيكون (baykūn)
    • Pork bacon can be called لحم خنزير مُقَدَّد (laḥm khanzīr muqaddad), or “crunchy pork”
  • Sausage (again, halal sausages can be made with beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, etc.): سُجُق (sujuq, from the Turkish sucuk) or نَقانِق (naqāniq), which can also be spelled مَقانِق (maqāniq)
  • Fish: لحم سَمَك (laḥm samak)
    • Salmon: سَلمون (salmūn)
    • Tuna: تونة (tūnah)
  • Lobster: لحم كَركَند (laḥm karkand)
  • Shrimp: لحم جَمبَري (laḥm jambarī)
  • Crab: لحم سََلطَعون (laḥm salṭaʿūn)

Fruits: فواكه

Have I missed your favorite? Leave it in comments and I’ll add it!

Fruit, فاكهة (fākihah):

  • Apple: تُفاح (tuffāḥ, collective) or تُفاحة (tuffāḥah, specific)
  • Apricot: مِشمِش (mishmish, collective) or مِشمِشة (mishmishah, specific)
  • Avocado: أفوكادو (afūkādū)
  • Banana: موز (mūz)
  • Blackberry: تمر عليق (tamar ʿalīq) or توت اسود (tūt aswad)
  • Blueberry: عنبية (ʿanbīyah) or توت أزرق (tūt azraq)
  • Cantaloupe: شمام (shamām)
  • Cherry: كَرَز (karaz)
  • Cranberry: توت بري (tūt barrī, “wild berry”)
  • Date: تمر (tamar)
  • Fig: تين (tīn)
  • Grape: عِنَب (ʿinab), أعناب (aʿnāb, plural)
  • Grapefruit: جريب فروت (jrayp frūt)
  • Guava: جوافة (juwāfah)
  • Lemon: ليمون (līmūn)
  • Lime: ليم (līm) or ليمة (līmah)
  • Mango: مانجو (mānjū)
  • Orange: بُرتُقال (burtuqāl)
  • Nectarine: خوخ ناعم (khūkh nāʿim, “smooth peach”) or نكتارين (niktārīn)
  • Papaya: بابايا (bābāyā)
  • Peach: خَوخ (khawkh, collective), خَوخة (khawkhah, particular)
  • Pear: كمثری (kummathrī)
  • Pineapple: أناناس (anānās)
  • Plum: بَرقوق (barqūq)
  • Pomegranate: رُمان (rummān)
  • Pumpkin: يقطين (yaqtīn, could be many kinds of squash)
  • Raspberry: توت (tūt)
  • Strawberry: فراولة (farāwlah)
  • Tangerine: يوسُفي (yūsufī) or مَندَرين (mandarīn)
  • Watermelon: بطيخ (baṭṭīkh)

Eating meals

One of the most popular Ramadan customs is the evening meal that breaks the day’s fast (literally “breakfast” even though it happens in the evening), called إفطار (ifṭār), taken from the root فَطَرَ (faṭara), which has a more archaic meaning of “to break” (or “to split,” or “to cleave”) but which in modern usage usually means “to break a fast/to have breakfast.” With that in mind, and because I’m always looking for topics that are tenuously connected to something happening in the world, this post will be about eating food. I’m not going to get into words for particular kinds of foods here (maybe next time?); we’ll stick to basic things like the names of meals for now.

“to eat” = أكَلَ (akala), طَعِمَ (ṭaʿima, has a more refined meaning, like “savor” or “relish”), or تَناوَلَ (tanāwala, reflexive form of a verb that means “to give,” so “to give to oneself”)

“food” = غَذاء (ghadhāʾ), derived from a verb that means (archaic), “to have breakfast,” or طَعام (ṭaʿām, also could be translated as “nourishment,” or “repast”)

“meal” = وَجبة (wajbah), from a root وَجَبَ (wajaba) that has to do with “duty” and “necessity”

“breakfast = the aforementioned إفطار (ifṭār), or (from the same root) فُطور (fuṭūr)

“brunch” = وَجبة بَين الإفطار (wajbah bayn al-ifṭār), “meal between breakfast,” or برونش (brūnsh)

“lunch” = غَداء (ghadāʾ), not to be confused with (see above) غَذاء (“food”)

“dinner” or “supper” = عَشاء (ʿashāʾ), or طَعام العَشاء (ṭaʿām al-ʿashāʾ)

“snack” = وَجبة خَفيفة (wajbah khafīfah), “light meal,” or possibly مَزة (mazah) from Persian