Directions In Arabic: Quick Beginner's Guide To Asking

Asma Wahba

Author

Asma Wahba

Need some directions in an Arab country?

Directions are one of the most important parts of any Arabic phrasebook, and it’s easy to see why.

Below, we’ve listed all of the most important Arabic direction vocabulary, including cardinal (compass) directions.

Note: These are in Modern Standard Arabic, but most of the vocabulary is also used in spoken dialects.

Additionally, make sure to see our lessons on prepositions in different dialects:

Cardinal (compass) directions

ArabicEnglish
شَمالnorth
جَنوبsouth
شَرقeast
غَربwest
شَمال غَربnorthwest
شَمال شَرقnortheast
جَنوب غَربsouthwest
جَنوب شَرقsoutheast

Other key directional vocabulary

ArabicEnglish
شَمالnorth
جَنُوْبsouth
مَشْرِقeast
مَغْرِبwest
علىon, on top
فَوْقabove, over, up
أَعْلىhigher, top of
قِمّةtop
تَحْتbelow/underneath
أَدْنىlower (bottom)
أَسْفَلbottom (below)
جانِبbeside
يَمِيْنright (direction)
يسيرleft (direction)
شِمالleft (direction)
أَيْمَنright (right hand)
أَيْسَرleft (left hand)
أَمامin front (any distance)
مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيـright in front
وَراءbehind (any distance)
خَلْفright behind
بَيْنbetween
فيin
حَوْلaround
قَرِيْبnear
دانٍ/أَدْنىclose
بَعِيْدfar
أَقْصىdistant
هُناhere
هُناكthere
أَيْنَwhere?
مَرْأىً(within) eyeshot
مَسْمَع(within) earshot

How to ask for directions?

The easiest way (in Modern Standard Arabic) is say Where + noun ?:

ArabicEnglish
أَيْنَwhere

Or you could use:

ArabicEnglish
كيف أصل إلىHow do I get to...
هل هذا هو الطريق إلىIs this the way to...

There are many more options not listed here.

As I already mentioned, these are Modern Standard Arabic, so in practise, they’re a bit awkward and unnatural to use when traveling.

You’re much better off learning a spoken dialect.

We’ve covered directions in our spoken dialect lessons. Create an account to get started learning!

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