Directions In Arabic: Quick Beginner's Guide To Asking

Asma Wahba

Author

Asma Wahba

Need some directions in an Arab country?

Directions are one of the most important parts of any Arabic phrasebook, and it’s easy to see why.

Below, we’ve listed all of the most important Arabic direction vocabulary, including cardinal (compass) directions.

Note: These are in Modern Standard Arabic, but most of the vocabulary is also used in spoken dialects.

Additionally, make sure to see our lessons on prepositions in different dialects:

Cardinal (compass) directions

Arabic English
شَمال north
جَنوب south
شَرق east
غَرب west
شَمال غَرب northwest
شَمال شَرق northeast
جَنوب غَرب southwest
جَنوب شَرق southeast

Other key directional vocabulary

Arabic English
شَمال north
جَنُوْب south
مَشْرِق east
مَغْرِب west
على on, on top
فَوْق above, over, up
أَعْلى higher, top of
قِمّة top
تَحْت below/underneath
أَدْنى lower (bottom)
أَسْفَل bottom (below)
جانِب beside
يَمِيْن right (direction)
يسير left (direction)
شِمال left (direction)
أَيْمَن right (right hand)
أَيْسَر left (left hand)
أَمام in front (any distance)
مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيـ right in front
وَراء behind (any distance)
خَلْف right behind
بَيْن between
في in
حَوْل around
قَرِيْب near
دانٍ/أَدْنى close
بَعِيْد far
أَقْصى distant
هُنا here
هُناك there
أَيْنَ where?
مَرْأىً (within) eyeshot
مَسْمَع (within) earshot

How to ask for directions?

The easiest way (in Modern Standard Arabic) is say Where + noun ?:

Arabic English
أَيْنَ where

Or you could use:

Arabic English
كيف أصل إلى How do I get to…
هل هذا هو الطريق إلى Is this the way to…

There are many more options not listed here.

As I already mentioned, these are Modern Standard Arabic, so in practise, they’re a bit awkward and unnatural to use when traveling.

You’re much better off learning a spoken dialect.

We’ve covered directions in our spoken dialect lessons. Create an account to get started learning!

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