How To Say Yes In Arabic (Egyptian Dialect)

Mariam Enany

Author

Mariam Enany

Today’s guide will walk you through the simplest ways of how to say “Yes” in Egyptian Arabic, as well as the different expressions you can use to imply excitement, certainty, and agreement.

You’ll also learn how to verbalize the varying degrees of your enthusiasm to do something.

Yalla, let’s dive in!

How to say “yes” in Arabic

1. Aywa

Aywa is the easiest and simplest way to say yes.

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Yes.Aywaأيوة

Example:

مريم أنتى جاية الخروجة يوم الخميس اللى جاى؟
أيوة جاية.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Mariam, are you going to the outing next thursday?
Mariam, enty gaya elkhrouga youm elkhamees ely gy?مريم أنتى جاية الخروجة يوم الخميس اللى جاى؟
Yes, I am goingAywa, gaya.أيوة جاية.

In this example, Mariam’s friend asks her if she’s going to the outing on Thursday, and Mariam confirms.

  • A note on the English translation and its original Arabic equivalent: جاى - جاية (Gy- Gaya) in Arabic means ‘coming’, but I preferred to translate it as “going” because it’s more appropriate and common to use go instead come in English.

2. Ah

EnglishTransliterationArabic
YeahAhأه

Ah is short and sweet. It’s also informal. It is the same sound when someone is in pain and says “Ahhhh”

Example:

محمد: مش عايز تاكل؟
أحمد: اه جعان جدا. يلا بينا!
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Mohamed: Don’t you wanna eat?Mohamed: Mesh ‘ayez takoul?محمد: مش عايز تاكل؟
Ahmed: Yes, I am very hungry. Let’s go!Ahmed: Ah ga‘aan gedan. Yalla beena!أحمد: اه جعان جدا. يلا بينا!

3. Mhm- Aha

This is even shorter and still works. But it doesn’t really indicate a lot of attention or enthusiasm on the end of the speaker. You would want to follow up with another word from the list, such as “Tamam” or “Mashy”

4. Wesh

Now, onto more enthusiastic expressions in Egyptian Arabic:

EnglishTransliterationArabic
For sureWeshوش

“Wesh” is very informal and used between younger generations. If you use it with a middle aged person or someone older in general, they might not even understand what you mean. Save it to your millennial and Gen-Z friends.

Example:

جماعة راحين حفلة مروان بابلو؟
وش!!!
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Guys, are we going to Marwan Pablo’s concert?Gama‘a, rayheen haflet Marwan Pablo?جماعة راحين حفلة مروان بابلو؟
For sure!!!Wesh!!!وش!!!

In this example, two friends are making plans and thinking aloud if they are going to Marwan Pablo’s concert. Marwan Pablo is one of the most famous and well-known Egyptian Rappers in Egypt. Egyptian Hip Hop and Rap music is the newest trend in the Egyptian music scene.

And so, as readers, we can deduce that this conversation is between young people, and so, “Weshhhh” or “Wesh” is suitable to use.

5. Akeed

This is another neutral and regular equivalent for “wesh”. This could be used in all contexts.

EnglishTransliterationArabic
CertainlyAkeedأكيد

Example:

ايه رأيك نطلع دهب فى راس السنة؟
مممم ماشى.
بجد ولا؟
بجد بجد! أكيد خلاص!
EnglishTransliterationArabic
What do you think about going to Dahab at New Year’s eve?Eh Ray’ak netla’ Dahab fi Ras El Sana?ايه رأيك نطلع دهب فى راس السنة؟
Mhm, AlrightMmm Mashy.ممم ماشى.
Seriously or not?Begad wala?بجد ولا؟
No no seriously. Certainly, we’re going!Laa begad begad! Akeed Khalas Rayheen.لا بجد بجد! أكيد خلاص رايحين!

6. Tab‘an

Tab‘an is quite similar to Akeed. Both are used in general and in all contexts.

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Of courseTab‘anطبعاً

Example:

محمد خلصت البريزينتيشن؟ الاجتماع كمان ساعة!
طبعا خلصته. أكيد يعنى مش حدخل الاجتماع من غير ماكون محضر.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Mohamed, did you finish the presentation? The meeting is an hour!Mohamed, khalast elpresentation? El Igtimaa‘ kaman sa‘a!محمد خلصت البريزينتيشن؟ الاجتماع كمان ساعة!
Of course, I finished it. Certainly, won’t go into the meeting without being prepared.Taba‘an khalasto. Akeed ya‘ni mesh hadkhoul el igtimaa‘ men gheir makoun mehaddar.طبعا خلصته. أكيد يعنى مش حدخل الاجتماع من غير ماكون محضر.

Let’s take a look at another example:

أحمد أوعى تسيب الأكل فى العربية. أنا جعانة جدا.
طبعا أخدته معايا. ما تقلقيش.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Ahmed, don’t you dare leave the food in the car. I am so hungry.

(**don’t you dare is used lovingly here. It literally means be aware)
Ahmed, ew‘a teseeb el akl fil ‘arabeya. Ana ga‘ana gedan!أحمد أوعى تسيب الأكل فى العربية. أنا جعانة جدا.
Of course, I took it with me. Don’t worry.Tab‘an akhadto ma‘aya. Ma te’la2ish.طبعا أخدته معايا. ما تقلقيش.

In these two examples, you would find that both Mohamed and Ahmed are being asked questions that they think are ridiculous, and so they follow “Tab‘an” up with another emphasis such as “Akeed” or “don’t worry”

7. Tamam

Tamam is an essential word to learn in Egyptian Arabic. It literally means “All good” but is used in many different contexts.

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Okay / perfect / all goodTamamتمام

Example:

ايه الأخبار يا غادة؟ عاملة ايه؟
والله تمام كويسة. كله تمام.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
How’s it going, Ghada? How are you doing?Eih el akhbar ya Ghada? ‘amla eh?ايه الأخبار يا غادة؟ عاملة ايه؟
Honestly, good doing well. All is good.Wallahi tamam kowayessa. Kolo tamam.والله تمام كويسة. كله تمام.

In this example, you can see Ghada has used “Tamam” as an answer to “How are you?” as well as in expression form: “Kolo Tamam”

“Kolo Tamam” meaning “All good” is a useful expression in Egyptian Arabic to indicate everything is great, everything is running smoothly.

7. Mashy

Here is an interesting one. “Mashy” literally means walking or going. It’s the Egyptian way of saying “Okay” but in certain cases, it means: “Okay. Moving on.”

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Okay
Meaning: That works/it’ll do. (Literally: going)
Mashyماشى

Example:

المكتبة بتقفل. محتاجين نمشى.
ماشى
EnglishTransliterationArabic
The library is closing. We need to go.El mektaba bete’efel. Mehtageen nemshy.المكتبة بتقفل. محتاجين نمشى.
Okay.Mashy.ماشى
ممكن نعدى على السوبر ماركت نجيب جبنة و عيش؟
ماشى بس بسرعة.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Can we pass by the supermarket and get cheese and bread?Momken ne‘adi ‘ala elsupermarket negeeb gebna w ‘eish?ممكن نعدى على السوبر ماركت نجيب جبنة و عيش؟
Okay, but be fast.Mashy bs bsor‘aماشى بس بسرعة.

It is also a good way to make someone shut up if they’re nagging you to do something.

8. Ok - Okay

Plain and simple and borrowed from English.

EnglishArabic
Okأوكيه

This is not contingent on a specific social class and all Egyptians understand the term because it’s quite simple and easy.

9. Fol

This is an informal expression that you can use to indicate your enthusiasm about an upcoming event or a future plan. It literally means Jasmin flowers which is quite interesting because this is just a way to indicate “sweetness”. Foll is suitable to use with friends and friendly colleagues.

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Literally: JasminFollفُل
محتاجين قهوة قبل مانطلع على الطريق
فل. فى ستاربكس قريب.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
We need coffee before we hit the road.Mehtageen ahwa abl ma netla‘ ‘ala eltaree’محتاجين قهوة قبل مانطلع على الطريق
Okay. there is a Starbucks nearbyFoll. fi Starbucks orayeb.فل. فى ستاربكس قريب.

10. Eshta

Eshta is quite similar to foll. It’s informal and is used between friends and people of the same age group. This is also used by young people - mostly younger millennials.

Eshta literally means “Cream”, sweet-tasting food to indicate enthusiasm.

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Cool
Literally: Cream
Eshtaقشطة

Example:

تيجى نتقابل بكرة بعد الشغل؟
قشطة. يلا بينا.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
How about we meet tomorrow after work?Teegy net’abel bokra ba‘d elshoghl?تيجى نتقابل بكرة بعد الشغل؟
Cool, let’s go.Eshta. Yalla beena!قشطة. يلا بينا.

11. Gamed

If Eshta is mostly used by younger millennials, then Gamed is mostly used by people in their early to mid-twenties. The word “Gamed” means: Tough. It is usually also used to describe someone as hot.

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Cool
Literally: Tough
Gamedجامد

Example:

المعاد ده يناسبك نشتغل على المزيكا فيه؟
جامد
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Does this time work for you to work together on music?El ma‘ad dah yenasbak neshtaghal ‘ala el mazika feeh?المعاد ده يناسبك نشتغل على المزيكا فيه؟
جامدGamed?Cool.

12. Halawa

EnglishTransliterationArabic
SweetHalawaحلاوة

Another interesting and informal term. Instead of picking a sweet-smelling flower or tasty cream, you can just say “Halawa”. This is used in the same context as Eshta and Foll to indicate enthusiasm.

In the last example, you can exchange “Gamed” with Halawa and it would still indicate the same level of enthusiasm about future plans. This would be your way of saying you’re excited about plans.

13. Hassal

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Done
Literally: It already happened
Hassalحصل
Consider it done (directed to a second person masculine)

Consider it done (directed to a second person feminine)
E‘tebro Hassal
E‘tebreeh Hassal
اعتبره حصل
اعتبريه حصل

I like this one. When someone asks you for a favor, “Hassal” is such a perfect reply. It’s reassuring to the listener because it means “It already happened” so don’t worry about the task anymore.

Example:

المادة دى صعبة جدا و محتاجة مساعدتك.
حصل. الوقت اللى تحبيه نقعد نذاكر.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
This subject is so difficult and I need your help.El mada de sa‘ba awi w mehtaga mosa‘ditak.المادة دى صعبة جدا و محتاجة مساعدتك.
Consider it done. We can sit down and study anytime you want.Hassal. Elwa’t ely tehbeeh no‘oud nezaker.حصل. الوقت اللى تحبيه نقعد نذاكر.

15. Insha’llah

EnglishTransliterationArabic
God’s willing Insha’llahان شاء الله

Well well well, did you think we were not going to include Insha’allah in the article?

Insha’alla is the perfect way to officially say yes but not really. Want to postpone this conversation? Say Insha’allah. It’s the official secret weapon used by all Egyptian fathers.

Egyptians have a running joke that whenever mothers say Insha’allah, they mean yes, while when fathers use the same expression, they mean quite the opposite and they are just postponing the eventual disappointing “No”.

أشوفك يوم الامتحان يا نادر.
ان شاء الله
EnglishTransliterationArabic
See you on test day, Nader.Ashoufak youm el imtihaan ya Nader.أشوفك يوم الامتحان يا نادر.
God’s willing.Insha’allaان شاء الله
ماما ممكن أروح رحلة اسكندرية مع أصحابى؟
اسألى بابا
يا ماما أرجوكى.
طيب ان شاء الله.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Mum, can I go to the Alexandria trip with my friends?Mama, momken arouh rehlit iskinderiya ma‘a sohabi?ماما ممكن أروح رحلة اسكندرية مع أصحابى؟
Ask you fatherEs’ali babaاسألى بابا
Mum, please.
(Literally: I beg you)
Ya mama argoukiيا ماما أرجوكى.
Okay. God’s willing.Tayeb insha’allahطيب ان شاء الله.

16. Leeh La’?

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Why not?Leeh La’?ليه لا؟

Leeh la’ is the curious yes. It’s when you are contemplating doing something and you are thinking aloud with a friend, then someone hopefully says “Why not?”

Example:

تيجى نجرب القهوة دى؟
ليه لا؟ يلا.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
How about we try this coffee?Teegy negrab el’ahwa de?تيجى نجرب القهوة دى؟
Why not? Let’s.Leeh la? Yalla.ليه لا؟ يلا.

17. Etafa’na

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Deal
Literally: We have agreed/We have made a deal
Etafa’.naاتفقنا
Alright, it’s a deal.
Khalas Etafa’.naخلاص اتفقنا

Etfa’na is what you use to seal the deal. This is your official agreement word to finalize plans.

Example:

منة: يناسبكم امتى نتقابل عشان البحث؟ التلات تمام؟
سلمى: لا التلات صعب معايا. يوم الأربع بليل؟
بسنت: أنا كمان التلات صعب. يوم الأربع الساعة ٧ أحسن.
منة: خلاص اتفقنا. يوم الأربع الساعة ٧.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Menna: What times work for you to meet up to work on the research? Is Tuesday okay?Menna: Yenasibkom emta net’abel ‘ashan el bahth? El talat tamam?منة: يناسبكم امتى نتقابل عشان البحث؟ التلات تمام؟
Salma: No, Tuesday is difficult for me. Wednesday night?Salma: La el talat sa‘b ma‘aya. Youm el Arba‘ belil?سلمى: لا التلات صعب معايا. يوم الأربع بليل؟
Passant: Tuesday is also difficult for me. Wednesday at 7 works.Passant: Ana kaman el talat sa‘b. Youm el arba‘ elsa‘a 7 ahsan.بسنت: أنا كمان التلات صعب. يوم الأربع الساعة ٧ أحسن.
Menna: Alright, it’s a deal. Wednesday at 7 it is.Menna: Khalas etaf’ana. Youm el arba‘ elsa‘a 7منة: خلاص اتفقنا. يوم الأربع الساعة ٧.

18. Hader

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Yes, sir/Ma’am
Okay, will do
Haderحاضر

Finally, we have “Hader”, a term meaning “Will do”. If someone asks you to do something and there is no room for negotiation, you would use “Hader”. If you also want to make someone stop nagging about something, Hader is the magic word.

Example:

Hager’s mum is telling her to bring medicine from the pharmacy on the way back from university.

هاجر عدى على الصيدلية هاتى الدوا و أنتى جاية
حاضر يا ماما.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Hager, pass by the pharmacy and get the medicine on your way back.Hager ‘addi ‘ala el saydaleya, hati el dawa w enty gaya.هاجر عدى على الصيدلية هاتى الدوا و أنتى جاية
Okay, will do.Hader ya mama.حاضر يا ماما.
اطفى التليفزيون و تعالى اقعد معانا
حاضر كمان شوية.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Turn off the TV and come sit with usEtfi el televizion wi ta‘ala ou‘oud ma‘ana.اطفى التليفزيون و تعالى اقعد معانا
Okay, will do so in a bit.Hader kaman showaya.حاضر كمان شوية

Before we wrap up our guide, the following short note is for our readers who initially started their Arabic learning journeys with learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). You have learned the word _Na‘am _to mean yes. In Egyptian however, the word Na‘am means “Excuse me” in the sense that you did not correctly hear what the speaker said, and you are asking them to repeat what they had just said again.

Na‘am?

EnglishTransliterationArabic
Yes?
Excuse me?
Na‘am?نعم؟

Do not confuse the Modern Standard Arabic Na‘am with the Egyptian Na‘am because they do have different meanings. The Egyptian Na‘am is always phrased in question form, never as an affirmative.

Let’s look at an example:

Here is a conversation between two strangers in the subway

ممكن أعدى لو سمحت؟
نعم؟
ممكن أعدى؟
اه أكيد طبعا. اسف.
EnglishTransliterationArabic
Can I pass by, please?Momken a‘adi law samaht?ممكن أعدى لو سمحت؟
Excuse me?Na‘am?نعم؟
Can I pass by?Momken a‘adi?ممكن أعدى؟
Oh yes of course. Sorry.Ah, Akeed tab‘an. Asef.اه أكيد طبعا. اسف.

In Egyptian Arabic, sometimes women repeat the word Na‘am and it becomes “Na‘am Na‘am Na‘aaaam?” which is a slightly vulgar way of saying “Take what you just said back.”

Check the first minute of the following video to understand better:

It has been played on television by actresses to depict characters of Alexandrian origin who are of a specific working class who were not perceived as highly educated.


I hope this guide has helped you express the different ways and varying levels of saying yes. What’s your favorite word today?

Make sure to check our next two related guides on How To Say No In Arabic and How To Say Maybe In Arabic.

Until then: مع السلامة 😊

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