Arabic Vocabulary for Shopping

8 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Arabic Words and Phrases for Traveling

One of the best ways to explore another country is to go shopping. Whether you're shopping for clothes, food, or souvenirs, you can use the following phrases in any Arabic-speaking country to help you find just the right thing.

There are some fabulous deals to be found in the Middle East. In most Arabic-speaking countries, there are street markets (called souqs) where you can buy anything from fruits and vegetables to antiques and collectibles. If you need more specific grocery items, you want to visit a Baqqaal (grocery store).

Bargaining in these marketplaces is one of the great cultural activities in the Arab world and one of the best opportunities for a visitor to practice speaking. Good-natured haggling is expected in the street markets (but not in fixed-price stores). Expect the salesperson to start at twice the expected price or higher.

The following words can be used in a variety of shopping situations.

baa'i' (salesperson)
thaman, si'r (price)
ghaalii (expensive)
rakhiiS (cheap)
maqbuul (acceptable)
ghayr maqbuul (unacceptable)
tanziilaat (sale [discount])
sajjaada (rug)
nuHaas (brass)
Sunduuq (box)
ibriiq (coffee urn)
finjaan (cup)
'iTr (perfume)
Hariir (silk)
jild (leather)

The following phrases will be useful no matter what kind of shopping you plan on doing.

  • bikam? (How much?)

  • haadhaa ghaalii. (That is expensive.)

  • haadhaa thaman jayyid. (That is a good price.)

  • uriid haadhaa. (I want this (one).)

  • uriid an ashtarii . . . (I want to buy . . .)

  • uriid an adfa' bishiik. (I want to pay by check.)

  • hal yumkinnii an ashtarii . . . hunaa? (May I buy . . . here?)

  • hal anta tabii' . . . ? (Do you sell . . . ?)

  • uriid shay'an arkhaS, min faDlik. (I want something less expensive, please.)

  • ufaDDil haadhaa. (I prefer this [one].)

  • haadhaa si'r maqbuul. (That price is acceptable.)

  • sa'dfa' . . . (I will pay . . .)

  • laa uriid an adfa' akthar min . . . (I don't want to pay more than . . .)

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