The Lebanese people are a multilingual bunch. Everyone has probably heard of the famous “Hi, Kifak, Ça va” phrase that epitomizes Lebanon’s diversity.
The Lebanese dialect/language is dynamic and includes terms used by our early Phoenician ancestors. The country’s vocabulary has been heavily influenced by Syriac-Aramaic, Phoenician, Persian, Turkish, French, English, and Arabic.
This may explain why there are some words in the Lebanese vocabulary that aren’t even real words in any other language. Heads up, most of these “words” are from the world of babytalk!
Finished, disappeared, or the end of something.
From the Syriac word bobo for baby.
We use it to mean a monster or something really scary.
A term used to indicate new clothes.
Used as a warning or threat to kids. It refers to a beating.
From the Syriac word flon. Foulen is used to refer to a certain person as in someone.
A term referring to food or eating.
It’s used like “shh” to mean shut up or be silent.
Meaning trash or waste. You may hear parents saying this to their children if they pick up something from the ground, “Drop that, it’s kokh.”
A term used for bird. For example, you may tell a child, “come see the kookoo.”
Funny, yes. The word used commonly in Lebanon originates from the Syriac word tizo. It refers to the uhm… posterior.
Meaning to go for a leisurely walk. It’s used in a popular Lebanese song: “Habibi bihheb el-tish w 3al Raouche bi2le mish,” which translates into: “My beloved loves leisure walk, and tells me ‘to the Raouche let’s go.'”