20 Typical Lebanese Slang Expressions

@goercommunity | @itsmylebanon

Languages are fascinating. You may speak the language of a country but fail to keep up with new colloquial terms.

The Lebanese people are masters of creating new phrases that become instant hits. They are multilingual and even use words from different languages in the same sentence; prime example, “Hi, kifak, ça va?”

There are several words that we use today in our every day lives that we seldom stop to think about why we even use them. Behold, the Urban Dictionary, Lebanese Edition!

#1 Asle  

The term Asle means authentic. However, Lebanese use it to speak of a person who is dear to their heart; often a best friend.

Samir khaye el asle, for instance, translates literally into Samir my authentic brother when it is meant to say Samir is my true friend.

#2 Shou fi ma fi?

Literally means “what’s there and what’s not” but it’s a Lebanese slang used to open a casual conversation, pretty much like “What’s up?”

#3 Bsheel

Agreeing to do something another person has suggested; to be “down” So when someone asks “Would you like to go to the football match?” and the person answers Bsheel, it means that he/she is down for it.

#4 Khosh bosh

The origin of this term is unknown. It doesn’t even exist in the Arabic dictionary. We use it to express what is an “easy-going” relationship, attitude, or even a buddy.

So when you hear a Lebanese saying “She and I are Khosh bosh,” that’s saying “We’re buddies.” And when someone says about a person “he’s too khosh bosh,” that means he has a loose attitude.

#5 Mukheef / mukheefe

A term meaning “scary” yet commonly used in the Lebanese language to indicate someone or something that is unbelievably amazing.

You would hear something like Wow, siyarto mukheefe! which is actually meant to say “his car is awesome!”

#6 Salbeh

Another word that is quite impossible to locate in the dictionary, yet widely understood in Lebanon to mean “Cool” or “super cool.”

“Have you met the new professor?” And if the professor is really a super cool guy, you might hear a Lebanese saying, “Eh, wallah, salbeh!”

#7 Sakkarto / bakkalto

Often used to state an achievement we’ve just made, or something we nailed, like acing a test, or an interview.

#8 Tabashna

Right the opposite of the term baklato in the same context, Tabashna is meant to say “we crashed” as in we failed an exam or a venture or similar.

#9 3ayoush / 3ayoushe

A slang originating from “lively”, the Lebanese use it to say about something that is amazing, exciting, or about someone who is fun to be around.

#10 Shu Mishen

Right, it means to say exactly what the image says: “What the heck?”

#11 3anjad?

Because Lebanese people joke so much, they use this word to differentiate between jokes and facts, and its literal translation is: “for-real.”

“Mom, 3anjad, you kicked Sarah out of the house?”

#12 Lah walaw

Seriously, there is no translation to this slang as we only know that “lah” is “no” and the walaw is not a recorded word in the language.

And yet, we so use that expression in our verbal communication as a reaction of refusal (someone wants to pay for our meal at a restaurant) or disbelief whether towards bad news (as in: Oh no! Are you serious?).

#13 Wlak / Wlek

A common Lebanese expression of frustration (as in ugh and arg), with origin unknown.

#14 Khod Hawiyti

Literally translates into take-my-ID-card: used when someone is being too noisy or tactless or indiscreet.

#15 Zahhit / zahte

It literally means “go slid” and is commonly used in Lebanon to say to someone: Buzz off, or get lost.

#16 Gallops

Similar to zahhit, but used in a friendly and joking manner instead.

#17 Dawbel

It’s said to someone driving to pass in front of another car.

#18 Kabasta / kabasto

Generally used to say “I bashed him” and it is sometimes used to refer to exaggerate something being done to make it seem extraordinary.

  • Contributed by Mariane Kahale, a graduate of Filmmaking, Museum Studies, and Cultural Management.

#19 MEJ

This slang stands for Ma Ele Jalad, a Lebanese expression of laziness.

  • Contributed by Mariane Kahale, a graduate of Filmmaking, Museum Studies, and Cultural Management.

#20 Rekbit

A Lebanese slang used to indicate that the plan finally came together and all is set to go.

  • Contributed by Mariane Kahale, a graduate of Filmmaking, Museum Studies, and Cultural Management.