How to Say Dates and Times in Arabic
When making plans, appointments, and travel arrangements in Arabic-speaking countries, you need to be able to state dates and other calendar terms in Arabic. Understanding the days of the week, the months of the year, and how to tell time in Arabic can help you to avoid confusion.
In Arabic, the week always starts on Sunday and the names of the days of the week are based (mostly) on numbers.
yawm al-aHad (Sunday)
yawm al-ithnayn (Monday)
yawm ath-thulaathaa‘ (Tuesday)
yawm al-arbi‘aa‘ (Wednesday)
yawm al-khamiis (Thursday)
yawm al-jum‘a (Friday)
yawm as-sabt (Saturday)
When using the names of the days in conversation, the word yawm (day) is often dropped.
Other terms used to describe days in more general terms include
The Arab world uses three different systems for the names of the months. The two most common ones are one based on the French months (used commonly in North Africa) and one that is used in the Fertile Crescent area (Syria, Iraq, and Jordan).
|North African||Fertile Crescent||English|
The last system is based on the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar and doesn’t correspond to the months used in our calendar.
The time of day can be described in general terms or specific times. The following words can be used to describe the general time of day.
When you want to know a specific time of day, you can ask as-saa‘a kam? (What time is it?). Remember that time expressions use ordinal (first, second, and so on) numbers rather than cardinal numbers (one, two, and so on), such as the following:
as-saa‘a al-waaHida (one o’clock)
as-saa‘a ath-thaaniya (two o’clock)
as-saa‘a ath-thaalitha (three o’clock)
as-saa‘a ar-raabi‘a (four o’clock)
as-saa‘a al-khaamisa (five o’clock)
as-saa‘a as-saadisa (six o’clock)
as-saa‘a as-saabi‘a (seven o’clock)
as-saa‘a ath-thaamina (eight o’clock)
as-saa‘a at-taasi‘a (nine o’clock)
as-saa‘a al-‘aashira (ten o’clock)
as-saa‘a al-Haadiya ‘ashra (eleven o’clock)
as-saa‘a ath-thaaniya ‘ashra (twelve o’clock)
When expressing time between the hours, use the following terms to break things down.
thulth (third [20 minutes])
To give a specific time, you would state the hour and then add the minutes, quarters, etc. to the end of the phrase, as in the following examples.
as-saa‘a ar-raabi‘a illaa rub‘ (quarter ’til four)
as-saa‘a al-waaHida wa nuSf fii-SabaaH (1:30 a.m.)
as-saa‘a as-saabi‘a wa rub‘fii-l-masaa‘ (7:15 p.m.)