11 Different Ways To Say Goodbye In Egyptian Arabic
You're hanging out with friends, but you have other things to do, so you get up and turn to your friends to say goodbye in Arabic.
What should you say?
See you later? Goodbye (forever)? Later, guys?
How about if you’re sitting in the balcony, having a nice chat with family or with your roommate and you’re about to go to bed, is it still a “See you later?” or you have to say goodnight?
There are so many options!
Let’s go over the best ones.
In Egyptian Arabic, like other dialects, there are different formal and informal ways to say “goodbye.”
Some indicate a temporary goodbye, some for a very short duration and some more of a “see you never”.
👋 How to say bye in Egyptian Arabic
1. Ma‘a El Salama
Literally: With Safety
|Ma’a El Salama||مع السلامة|
|Reply: (In God’s protection)||Ma‘a El Salama |
Or Fi re‘ayit Allah
|مع السلامة |
فى رعاية الله
Ma‘a El Salama is the most common way to say goodbye or see you later.
It is suitable for formal and informal occassions equally, and does not really give an indication of whether this goodbye is temporary or permenant (as you will see in other expressions later on in this guide)
It literally means: With safety, meaning I hope safety accompanies you wherever you go.
There is another common meaning to it: peace be with you as salama is safety but some people like to also interpret it as “salam” meaning peace.
The common reply to ma‘a El Salama is just to repeat it again. Goodbye... Goodbye!
There are some people who like to go the extra mile in their reply and say فى رعاية الله meaning in “God’s protection”. It is when they trust God to protect you.
I have mostly heard this in religious circles and by aunties who like to give you a quick prayer on your way out.
It’s cute, no?
Moving on from aunties to hip and young people.
Do young people even still say hip? I am not sure, I am a millenial, but what I do know is salam is the way to go.
Salam literally means Peace as you already know by now.
It would be your way of saying “peace out” and Egyptians use it in informal settings to drop the mic on their way out.
3. Yalla bye
|Bye||Yalla bye||يلا باى|
Adding yalla before bye makes it the absolute Egyptian way of Arabizing English words and expression.
This of course is informal and usually indicates a certain socio-economic background of who says it. Usually it implies a middle or upper class speaker who has received foreign language training.
You will also hear “yalla bye bye”.
Take a look at this Ruby song from her last album that has gone viral, titled “Alby Plastic” or My heart is plastic:
Ruby is talking about getting out of a toxic relationship and leaving behind a cheating partner. She says goodbye to her now ex and declares her heart is now plastic.
Do you hear any familiar expressions that you have just learned?
4. Ashoufak/Ashoufik Ba‘deen
|See you later (directed to a second person masculine)||Ashoufak Ba‘deen||أشوفَك بعدين|
|See you later (directed to a second person feminine)||Ashoufik Ba‘deen||أشوفِك بعدين|
This is the typical “See you later” in Arabic.
When you are not entirely sure when you’ll see someone again or when you see your friends on regular basis but haven’t decided on the timing just yet, “ashoufak / Ashoufik ba‘deen” is your go-to.
It’s informal and neutral and what’s great about it is that it could be a good expression to use if you secretly do not want to commit to seeing someone so soon.
Sometimes you can even say “ashoufak / ashoufik” on its own as your way of saying “I’ll see you.”
Alright, moving on to permanent ways to say goodbye.
El-wadaa‘ is actually a word from Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and pronounced as al-wadaa‘, but you will eventually hear it in Egyptian sarcastically.
For example, if someone is travelling and their friends are saying goodbye, so they make a scene and use al-wadaa‘ to imply that the separation is permanent and they will never see their friend again.
There is no Egyptian equivalent to al-wadaa‘ so this is why Egyptians use it as it is (but never with a straight face)
Perhaps it is useful to explain why some expressions from Modern Standard Arabic are used humorously.
Cartoon channels in the past several decades have been dubbed in Arabic not in dialects, and specifically not in Egypt unlike in the late nineties, but in Modern Standard Arabic. And so, kids (and their parents) who have been watching cartoons got accustomed to MSA and its tight connection to children’s anime and cartoons.
When Egyptians use MSA expressions, they’re associating them with impersonating these cartoon characters they watched as kids.
6. Ela Al-Liqaa’
Literally: Until we meet again.
|Ela Al-Liqaa’||إلى اللقاء|
Okay another one borrowed from Modern Standard Arabic.
Ela al-liqaa’ is a more optimistic expression unlike Al-Wadaa‘ which implies a complete and permanent separation. Ela-al-liqaa’ is sure of an inevitable reunion in the future.
This is also used humorously, but it’s a beautiful one that I wanted to include it to the list.
If your friends ever tell you al-wadaa‘ at the airport, turn to them and say Ela al-liqaa’! That would be your way of dropping your optimistic and loving mic.
7. Ma‘a Alf Salama
|Literally: With a thousand safeties||Ma‘a Alf Salama||مع ألف سلامة|
Moving from borrowed MSA expressions to other expressions that are also used humorously.
This is an exaggerated variation of ma‘a el salama which we covered at the beginning of this article.
Saying “with a thousand safeties” could imply two different meanings and it would depend on who says it. If it’s an aunty or a grandma, it would actually mean that they’re entrusting God to protect you wherever you go.
Let’s look at this example:
Hager is leaving the house to go to a test and she gives her mum the heads up that she’s leaving.
|Hager: Mum, I am heading out, going to the test! Bye!||Hager: Mama, ana mashya rayha el imtihaan. Yalla, ma‘a el salama!||هاجر: ماما أنا ماشية رايحة الامتحان! يلا مع السلامة!|
|Mum: Good luck my dear! A thousand safeties||Mama: Bil tawfee’ ya habibti! Ma‘a alf salama!||ماما: بالتوفيق يا حبيبتى! مع ألف سلامة!|
Here of course, Hager’s mum is being genuine and wishing her daughter good luck.
Let’s take a look at another example that gives a different context to the phrase:
Ahmed and Nada are having a fight over the phone after she caught him cheating. As she hangs up, she tells him off and says “Fi siteen Dahia! ma‘a alf salama!
We’ll go over the first part of the phrase in the next few lines, but it basically means “Get lost” and of course “ma‘a alf salama” here is used sarcastically to tell him to not come back.
As we are now moving to expressions to tell people off (still in a PG-13 manner), we’ll cover two interesting Egyptian expressions: ghour(i) fi Dahia and fi siteen Dahia.
Both are very commonly used, and an indication of Egyptian fluency if you know your way around them.
If someone is bothering you, they will definitely leave you alone for your mad Arabic skills.
8. Ghour/Ghouri Fi Dahia
|Go to Hell. (directed to a second person masculine) |
Literally: May you get lost in calamity
|Ghour fi Dahia||غور فى داهية|
|Go to Hell. (directed to a second person feminine) |
Literally: May you get lost in calamity
|Ghouri fi Dahia||غورى فى داهية|
The literal meaning of dahia is calamity.
So, when you tell someone “ghour(i) fi dahia” it’s as if you are telling them to get lost in a calamity. Powerful, right?
Want to take it the extra mile?
Use the next one!
9. Fi siteen dahia
|Means: Good riddance, Get lost |
Literally: (may you get lost) in sixty calamities
|Fi Siteen Dahia||فى ستين داهية|
Why sixty? I am not entirely sure. But it gives off the exaggerated intensity of someone’s anger.
May you get lost in sixty calamities!
Now, do you understand what Nada meant on that angry phone call? He has got it coming!
Interestingly enough, sometimes when we want to comfort someone we love after they have lost something dear to them, or that someone is gone after they have hurt them, we would say: “Khalas fi (Siteen) dahia aslan!”
|Don’t sadden yourself. May it get lost in a calamity/sixty calamities already.||Matz‘alsh nafsak. Khalas fi Dahia/siteen dahia aslan||ما تزعلش نفسك. خلاص فى (ستين) داهية أصلا!|
You can also use it to comfort someone who broke their car or lost a material possession.
To summarize this point, dahia / siteen dahia is where all annoying people and things go or should go in Egyptian culture.
10. Tesbah(i) ‘ala Kheir
From hate to love, and from telling people off to saying we love them.
We are now moving on to temporary goodbyes.
Wishing someone goodnight in Arabic is a lovely phrase, and a favorite of mine to explain to new learners.
|Good night (directed to a second person masculine) |
Literally: I hope you wake up to something good/benevolent
|Tesbah ‘ala Kheir||تصبح على خير|
|Good night (directed to a second person feminine) |
Literally: I hope you wake up to something good/benevolent
|Tesbahi ‘ala Kheir||تصبحى على خير|
|Reply to Goodnight |
Literally: And you’re kin to it (goodness/benevolence)
Directed to second person masculine
Directed to second person feminine
|Wi enta men ahlo |
Wenty men ahlo
|و أنت من أهله |
وانتى من أهله
After someone wishes you a goodnight “tesbah(i) ‘ala kheir”, the usual response is “wi enta/enty men ahlo”.
I hope you wake up to something good/and you are kin to it. You are of the same benevolence that you wish me.
Check out this classic black & white lullaby by Farid El-Atrash:
11. Terouh Wi Terga‘ bissalama / Terouhi wi terga‘i bissalama
|I hope you make it there okay and come back safely (directed to second person masculine)||Terouh wi terga‘ bissalama||تروح وترجع بالسلامة|
|I hope you make it there okay and come back safely (directed to second person feminine)||Terouhi w terga‘i bissalama||تروحى وترجعى بالسلامة|
Our final phrase for this guide is one strictly for travel.
This is the Egyptian equivalent of “have a safe trip” so the earlier example of Hager going to the exam would not be appropriate, because it would be too short of a duration, and so saying “I hope you make it okay and come back safely” would be too exaggerated.
Let’s look at an example:
Marwan is standing at the airport, saying goodbye to his family, and is about to board.
|Marwan: Alright, bye||Marwan: Yalla ma‘a el salama||مروان: يلا مع السلامة.|
|Dad: I hope you make it there okay and come back safely||Baba: terouh wi teegy bissalama ya habibi||بابا: تروح و تيجى بالسلامة يا حبيبى|
|Marwan: May God grant you safety/health, Dad.||Marwan: Allah yesalimak ya baba||مروان: الله يسلمك يا بابا.|
As you have read in the example, Marwan replies with “Allah yesalimak” when his father wishes him a safe trip, and that is the suitable response.
My final gift to you, dear reader, is a rap song called “bil salama” by Wegz.
Egypt has a vibrant rap and trap music scene, and Wegz alone has 2 million followers on Youtube.
We will make it there safely
And for you, it’s time for you to leave.
This is obviously a smart wordplay on the double meaning of “salama” meaning safety and a shortening of ma‘a el salama.
Bissalama (with safety) here is used sarcastically as Wegz is kicking his opponents and competitors out of the field, but is literally telling them to take care, to not let the door hit them on the way out.
And with this, I say: