Love in Arabic takes many forms. While the English language has one main word, “love,” to describe multiple forms of one confusing, multi-faceted feeling, Arabic has many words for different versions of it. Different forms and degrees of endearment necessitate different words. Creatively, this opens the door to many more layers of poetic expression, as well as verbal affirmation. You can tell someone that you love them differently depending on the situation. Here are 7 ways that you can say “love” in Arabic.
“Hayati” is a word that means more than simple romantic love. In Arabic, the word means “my life.” It expresses the truth of an eternal bond – that two people share the same life, and will continue to do so. In Arabic song (particularly those from Lebanon), “hayati” can be heard as an expression of deep romance.
“Eini,” a word that translates literally to “my eye,” expresses a sentiment that English speakers rely on metaphors to do so. We say things like “the apple of my eye,” which basically expresses love or selective affection. Arabic speakers can say it in one word, expressing how precious someone is to them (as spiritually beautiful as an eye).
“Habibi” represents one of the most common ways to express love in Arabic. People use it to imply love for their children, friends, or random acquaintances. Parents call their kids this word (or “habibti” for the feminine version) when they express their everyday affection for them.
“Ameli” is an Arabic word that implies support. You use this word, which translates to “my hope,” when you express love to the people who make you feel strong and lift you up. People who are significant in your life, even when they aren’t necessarily romantic partners, can be “ameli” to you.
While “bahlam feek” (or the feminine, “bahlam feeki”) is a phrase, it expresses more than two words in English. You’ve probably told someone that you’re always thinking of them by telling them that they’re in your dreams or that you’ve been dreaming of them lately. That’s essentially what this phrase means in a shortened form.
English-speakers use this one all the time without knowing the Arabic equivalent. “Rohi” translates to “my soulmate,” which expresses that you love someone only and truly. Rohi is the person you want to spend your life with, not your friend or your child.
Albi or “my heart” expresses a strong bond that you only feel with intimate family or your closest loved ones. This love can be purely romantic or an expression of total affection for people that you’ve spent your life with.
Love in Arabic: The Takeaway
Love in Arabic takes many rhetorical forms. While English speakers rely on one word to express their affection for family, friends, lovers, and acquaintances, Arabic contains many expressions of the same concept. These 7 forms of different facets of the same complex emotion populate the conversations at home, at work, and in the daily lives of Arab-speaking people. Learning about them may teach you a thing or two about how you express love in your own speech every day.