Since life keeps getting in the way of these language blogs, and it’s the time of year when all four major North American sports are either in or about to start their seasons, I thought we could go over something relatively easy and talk sports. The names of specific sports are going to mostly be transliterations or cognates, which is why I say this is relatively easy. By all means, if there’s a particular sport you’d like to see in depth here, say something in comments and I’ll do what I can.

  • to play (in the sense of playing a sport): لَعَبَ (laʿaba)
  • to practice: مارَسَ (mārasa, form III of مرس, a mostly obsolete root that means “to macerate”)
  • sports: رياضة (riyāḍah, from the root روض, which means “exercise”)
  • game: لُعَبة (luʿabah)
  • ball: كُرة (kurah, which can also mean “globe”)
  • football (American): كُرة القَدَم الامريكية (kurat al-qadam al-amrīkīyah; قدم means “foot”)
  • football (rest of the world): كُرة القَدَم (kurat al-qadam)
  • baseball: بَيسبول (baysbūl)
  • basketball: كُرة السَلّة (kurat al-sallah; سلة means “basket”)
  • hockey: هوكي (hūkī)
  • tennis: تِنس (tins)
  • golf: غولف (ghūlf), possibly جولف (jūlf or [in Egypt] gūlf)
  • cricket: لُعَبة كريکيت (luʿabat krīkīt)


I play golf every week: کُل أسبوع ألعَبُ غولف  (kul usbūʿ alʿabu ghūlf)

We practiced tennis yesterday: أمس مارَسنا تِنس (ams mārasnā tins)