Darija – Moroccan Dictionary

Unfortunately, those months I spent in Morocco I was not able to learn as much Arabic as I wanted. I did learn some Darija, however… Well, enough to write a short practical guide to the language…

Mashi mushiquil: that was the first expression I’ve learned in Darija. Literally, it means “no problem”. Moroccans use it all the time, even when there clearly is a LOT of problem.. So be aware of it, specially when said repeatedly.

Inshallah: even though I already knew the expression, I had no idea how useful it could be. It means “God willing” and it is also used all the time. Sometimes it is weird because you say I will do x (for you it’s certain you will), and they say inshallah (took me time to get used to it). But the most useful way to use it is to give an evasive answer for something you don’t wanna do.. “let’s do that?” “Inshallah” (if God wants, because I really don’t want to).

Come have couscous at my place on Friday: Moroccans are a very kind and warm people. When you first meet them that’s their way to show it. Maybe the couscous will never happen, but I guess it’s their job to invite you. Aah, and if the couscous actually happen, make sure you’ll have time for a siesta after – you’ll need it!

Bizaf: it means “a lot”. Very useful when shopping at the medina. Whenever they give you a price, you say “bizaf” – even if you don’t actually understand the price they said. Be sure that it will, indeed, be a lot, and they will reduce it. Best case scenario: they will ask how much you want to pay. At first, bargaining annoyed me a lot, because I thought they were only trying to get advantage from stupid tourists (sometimes it is the case, of course)… But then I got the whole point: you pay according to how much value you accord to the good and everyone is happy

Shwia: opposite of bizaf, it means “a bit”. “Some sugar in your tea?” Shwia (talking about sugar it will never really be just a bit, anyway).

Bnin: talking about tea, bnin is an important word. It means delicious – and that’s always the case. So are the tajines, the patisseries, and so on… More often than not, bnin goes with bizaf… Bnin bizaf

Hubz: it means bread, but it could also be fork. Traditionally, Moroccans eat with their hands, using the hubz to get the food from a big tajine put in the middle of a table from which everyone eat. The truth is many families no longer do that, but some still do.

Kuli, kuli: “eat, eat!”. No matter how much you eat, they will never think it’s enough. They will say “kuli” and show that their part of the tajine is empty and yours is not, so you should eat more.

Hamman: where you realize that taking a shower with buckets in a public bathroom can actually be good and that a fishing net can be a beauty item.

Djellaba: it’s the national costume for men and women. It’s like a long dress/cape with a hood. People often wear it over their pajamas (anywhere and anytime). I must say since winter begun I felt tempted to get a djellaba to be able to walk around on my pajamas.

Mtgklp: ok, that’s not really a word in Darija, but it could be.. Moroccans have the incredible ability to speak without vowels – needless to say, it’s impossible to understand and it does sound like Mtgklp.

Safi, baraka: “that’s enough, stop”.

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