Posted by: xeper | February 16, 2009

Egyptian Words for “Beautiful”

Someone was asking for the Egyptian word for “Beautiful”..

The ancient Egyptian word is Nefer.. as in NeferTiti, which means “The Beautiful One Has Come”.. The word Titi or Tata means walking.. which comes from the sound you make when walking small steps.. We still urge our babies to walk tata, so the old verb is still used as an adverb now.. or a subconscious translation.. as if still believing the natural language that human are born understanding is the Old Language.. so all our talk to babies still is done using it.. but maybe we can say more about that later.. for now we should go back to Nefer and Beautiful..

A modern word for Beautiful is 7elw (helw) for masculin or 7elwa (helwa) for feminine.. this is a Cairo and lower Egypt (north of cairo) dialect, comes from Arabic from a root meaning “Sweet”, which we came to use for everything nice, so it means beautiful or sweet or nice or even good. Gamiil/Gamiila is a non-geographically specific word, also from Arabic, but from a root meaning Beautiful, as in physical beauty. We also use it to describe spiritually beautiful people but it is mainly for the physical that it is used. In upper Egypt (south) the G becomes a Dj, and sometimes just a D.. Djamiil, Damiil.. though the usage may differ slightly.. In upper Egypt the word Malii7/Malii7e (Maliih/Maliihe) are more often used to describe beauty.

I am unfortunately not familiar with the words in Nubian and other Egyptian tongues, so if someone can help please do in the comments.. but until then, the above would be understood all over Egypt..

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Responses

  1. Language is fascinating. Thanks for sharing this lesson.

  2. Fascinating indeed, so are your beautiful personal reflections on your wonderrful blog. I just discovered it and am reading it piece by piece. Wonderful and thank you for sharing your writing :)

  3. Hi, How do you say “beautiful you” in egyptian? Thanks a lot

  4. @Christine: to say “you are (very) beautiful” in modern Egyptian you say “Enti gamiila (awi)” to a girl, or “Enta gamiil (awi)” to a guy.

    You’re most welcome now and always, so dont hesitate to tell me if you have any other sentences you wish to translate to modern Egyptian.

  5. how do you say enhance in egyptian? and also natural?? Thanks!!

  6. oh and also what was the blue water lily called in egyptian??

  7. whats the Egyptian word for i like you?

  8. WHAT WOULD BE THE EGYPTIAN WORDS FOR ‘EGYPTIAN BEAUTY’

  9. how do you say 23 in egyption

  10. Apologies for being away from the blog for so long.

    @Niria: Enhance is Yehassen, if a masculine is enhancing, or Tehassen, if a female is enhancing. It comes from Hasan, meaning Good. This is Cairene dialect and is very similar to modern classical Arabic, which would be Yohassen/Tohassen.
    I am not familiar with what the blue water lily was called, and am afraid I do not know what is its name in Arabic so it will be difficult to find it out. If you do, please share here.

    @Divina: We do not usually say I like you. We have I love you which is Bahebbak to a guy, or Bahebbek to a girl. We use more sophisticated methods to say I like you, like flirting. I like you would be said Enta 3agebni, but it would sound too sexual and direct, and we are a people that often prefer indirectness.

    @Lady: Gamaal Masri or Halaawa Masreyya.. depending whether you want to use the word Gamiil or Helw (check the article above for differences). If you describe a male you would probably not use Halaawa and would use Gamaal instead. If describing a female, Gamaal would be more powerful.. meaning potent beauty, while Halaawa is still strong but may be lighter, like the beauty of a girl (Halaawa) vs that of a Mysterious Woman (Gamaal).

    @rty: 23 is Talaata we 3eshriin

    Would you like me to continue this topic? adding words in Ancient Egyptian and in Modern Egyptian every now and then?

  11. how do u pronounce malii7?

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