Yemeni everyday jargons [Archives:2006/966/Last Page]

July 24 2006

Fatima Al-Ajel
[email protected]

Wherever you go in Yemen, you can hear Yemenis unconsciously repeat certain words and phrases in daily life. Such words and phrases have a great effect upon the recipient. Some words and phrases are known among women more than men and vice versa. Each is said in relation to a special attitude or event. Some of these jargons are used in praise or as a show of appreciation. In such occasions, if one doesn't use or reply with those words, it gives the other person a bad impression. If you are thinking of living in Yemen you may want to learn some of the following Yemeni jargons used in appreciation.


“Blessings or congratulations for

Yemenis actually say this word to each other after taking getting something nice or refreshing such as having a shower and after a haircut or shaving. For example, in preparing to go to the mosque on Friday, a man takes a shower. When he gets out, his wife or other family member says, “Na'iman,” to which he replies, “Allah yin'1m alina wa alaik” which means God bless you, and us, or “Yen'im alaikum bilafiya” May God bless you with good health.

Ya moa'een

“May Allah help you.”

When people are working or busy with doing something like if a neighbor is working in his garden or doing some construction work, and you walk near him or her, you should say, “Ya moa'een,” and he'll reply, “Allah ya'een al-jamie,” which means, “may Allah help everyone.”


“You pleased us.”

Especially in Sana`a, when listening to a singer at wedding parties or happy occasions, it is generally said by men to express their thanks and happiness to the singer.


“Grace to you” or “I beg your pardon”

It is used especially in Sana'a, in situations where a certain action may be seen as impolite. Such as when interrupting a conversation, or when giving your back to someone or if you needed to walk between people. When one says “Hashakum”, the others replies “Ala halakum,” which means, “It's ok.”

Yassin alaykum

If you meet someone who's tired, has a health problem or hurt himself, you say, “Yasseen alaykum,” to express your sorrow and as a prayer for him.

Other using for this phrase when people are dancing, the audience comment “Yasseen alaykum” to show their admiration for what they are watching especially if the dancing is wonderful.


This word is generally used suddenly when someone falls down, or something breaks or a sudden accident. Yemenis say: Allah, indicating that we pray for Allah to protect you.

Allah Allah – Ya saiter

“May Allah shelter you and me”

These words are used in different attitudes; In Yemeni traditions women are covered so, if a man has a guest, the guest has to repeat “Allah” many time while he is entering the house. The other members of the family will realize that he is there so, if a woman is walking around the house uncovered, she may cover up.

Dam Allah al-surur

“May happiness continues forever.”

During the first days of marriage, Yemenis especially in Sana'a greet the married couple and say, “Dam Allah al-surur,” praying for a happy life forever. The bride and groom then reply, “Surur da'iam,” which means, “always for all”

Hayakum Allah

“May Allah greet you, and welcome into my house.”

When welcoming a guest, the host or hostess says, “Hayakum Allah,” to which the guest replies, “Allah ya hayakum,” meaning, “You too.”

Yijmakum ala khair

“May Allah gather you in goodness.”

When a group of people are sitting on the street, talking or enjoying time together and you pass near them, say, “Yijmakum ala khair,” to which all of them will reply, “Wa min qaal,” meaning and he who said so,”

“Hareeyu muqamba, Hajja zaira, habla waledah”

Also, during Eid days, Yemenis repeat words of congratulations and pray for others with special words depending on the recipient's status, whether he or she is single, married or old. To a single person, say, “Hareeyu muqamba,” whereby you pray for him or her to marry and wear the wedding dress.

If the recipient is married, say to the wife, “Habilah and walidah,” praying for her to have more children. And if the recipient is relatively old and he or she didn't go to Mecca for the Hajj, say, “Haj za'ir, inshallah.” The recipients then will respond to you according to your status, whether single, married or if you haven't visited Mecca yet.