Arabic Opposites: Arabic Adjectives And Their Antonyms

Nora Nasr


Nora Nasr

Arabic Opposites: Arabic Adjectives And Their Antonyms

Today we’re looking at Arabic opposites.

Arabic boasts a deep linguistic heritage with an extensive vocabulary, including a wide array of antonyms, and understanding these opposites is key to going deeper and learning to appreciate the true depth and beauty of this language.

In this post, I'll cover various common adjectives and their opposites, carefully breaking them down into their English meanings and pronunciation.

Adjectives and their opposites

Common Arabic adjectives are going to be what you’ll probably use most, so it’s a good place to start.

We’re going to cover the most important ones first.

Common everyday adjectives

Understanding basic opposite words is like opening the door to daily life in the Arabic-speaking world.

English Arabic (in Arabic script) Pronunciation Opposite (English) Opposite (Arabic) Opposite Pronunciation
Big كبير Kabeer Small صغير Sagheer
Happy سعيد Sa'eed Sad حزين Hazeen
Hot حار Haar Cold بارد Baarid
Strong قوي Qawi Weak ضعيف Dha'eef
Early مبكر Mubakkar Late متأخر Muta'akhir
Fast سريع Saree' Slow بطيء Batee'
Old قديم Qadeem New جديد Jadeed
Tall طويل Taweel Short قصير Qaseer

Color opposites

Colors in Arabic are more than simple descriptors; they carry cultural, psychological, and even historical connotations.

English Arabic Pronunciation Opposite (English) Opposite (Arabic) Opposite Pronunciation
Black أسود Aswad White أبيض Abyad

Black vs. White:

Did you know that beyond the visual contrast, these colors often symbolize opposing concepts like evil and goodness, mourning and purity? These symbolic meanings are present in Arabic poetry, literature, and art.

Now we’re we'll explore words that dance around emotions, shimmer in describing weather, and resonate in human relationships.

Emotional opposites

Let’s look at emotions.

Emotional antonyms in Arabic can provide some real insight into the human condition, reflecting universal themes that resonate across cultures.

We will cover some of the most common ones below.

English Arabic (in Arabic script) Pronunciation Opposite (English) Opposite (Arabic) Opposite Pronunciation
Fearful خائف Kha'if Brave شجاع Shujaa'
Love حب Hubb Hate كره Karah
Joyful فرحان Farhan Sad حزين Hazeen
Confident واثق Wathiq Doubtful متردد Mutaraddid
Angry غاضب Ghadib Calm هادئ Hadi'

Opposites when describing people

Understanding how to describe people with opposite adjectives can be a gateway to more nuanced social interactions.

English Arabic Pronunciation Opposite (English) Opposite (Arabic) Opposite Pronunciation
Generous كريم Kareem Stingy بخيل Bakhil

Generous vs. Stingy: In Arab culture, generosity is a highly prized virtue, often associated with hospitality and kindness. These words are commonly used to describe not only individuals but also attitudes and ways of life.

Some philosophical concepts

These terms reflect profound cultural and philosophical ideas and often appear in scholarly and literary contexts.

English Arabic Pronunciationn Opposite (English) Opposite (Arabic) Opposite Pronunciation
Freedom حرية Hurriya Slavery عبودية 'Uboodiya

Freedom vs. Slavery: These words have deep historical, social, and political connotations in the Arabic-speaking world. They've been used in various contexts, from ancient texts to modern political speeches, reflecting shifting cultural landscapes.

English Arabic Pronunciation Opposite (English) Opposite (Arabic) Opposite Pronunciation
Equality مساواة Musawa Inequality عدم المساواة 'Adam Al-Musawa

Equality vs. Inequality: These terms are central to social justice dialogues and debates within the Arab world. They're used in contexts ranging from gender equality to economic disparities, mirroring global conversations around these themes.

As we've explored many common opposites let's now dive into some lesser-known antonyms that bring additional flavor to the language.

These pairs may be less common in everyday speech. That said, they’re vital in literature, cultural expression, and specialized fields.

English Arabic (in Arabic script) Pronunciation Opposite (English) Opposite (Arabic) Opposite Pronunciation
Rich غني Ghani Poor فقير Faqeer
Modern حديث Hadeeth Traditional تقليدي Taqleedi
Right صحيح Sahih Wrong خطأ Khata
Wisdom حكمة Hikmah Folly حماقة Hamaqah
Success نجاح Najah Failure فشل Fashal
Wild وحشي Wahshi Tame أليف Aleef
Healthy صحي Sahhi Sick مريض Mareed

Arabic opposite words offer a window into the Arabic language that is as diverse and multifaceted as the regions where it is spoken. From basic adjectives to profound philosophical terms, understanding these antonyms and opposites will help enrich the experience of learning the language, allowing you to connect with its literature, art, history, culture and people of course.

Understanding these opposite adjectives can also allow you to engage in more meaningful conversations too.

Remember learners, practice makes perfect.

And you can always bookmark this guide and refer back to it as you continue your journey in learning Arabic.

These antonyms are just the tip of the iceberg. Delving deeper into this beautiful language will uncover a beautifully fascinating world of expression and understanding.

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