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Glossary of Foreign Terms, Sheri Nayeri



Glossary of Foreign Terms in Order of Appearance


Allah-u-akbar (God is great.)


Naan (flat bread)


Babalu (boogeyman)


Baba (father)


Amir (leader)


Laaf (Afghan tendency to exaggerate)


Toophan agha (Mr. Hurricane)


Kofta sandwiches (meatballs and pickles wrapped in naan)


Saratan (cancer)


Zakat  Hadj (purification pilgrimage to Mecca)


Namaz prayers (prayers prescribed by law to be recited five times a day)


Day of Qiyamat (Judgment Day)


Buzkashi (Afghanistan’s national sport and passion, something like polo)


Chapandaz (highly skilled buzkashi horseman usually patronized by rich aficionados)


Kochi (nomads)


Bazarris  (merchants at the bazaar)


Shahnamah (tenth-century epic of ancient Persian heroes)


Mashallah (Praise God.)


Inshallah (God willing)


Goshkhor (ear-eater)


Kunis (homosexual)


Mard (man)


Watan (homeland)


Kasseef (dirty)


Eid (three days of celebration after the holy month of Ramadan)


Eid Mubarak (Happy Eid)


Salaam alaykum (Hello to you.)


Tashakor (thank you)


Tar (string, glass-coated cutting string on kite)


Kursi (an electric heater under a low table covered with a thick, quilted blanket)


Chapan (long caftan worn by men)


Koran ayat (literally,  sign, or miracle; refers to verses of Koran)


Diniyat class (religion class)


Boboresh! (Cut him!)


Mantu (steamed dumplings stuffed with sautéed onions and minced beef served with yoghurt sauce and topped with yellow peas)


Pakora (vegetable dipped in batter and deep fried)


Azan (call to prayer)


Bas (enough)


Rupia (unit of currency)


Agha sahib (lord, commander, nobleman; friend; sir)


Mareez (not feeling well)


Tandoor (oven for making bread)


Chicken qurma (stew)


Jan (dear, loved)


Saughat (souvenir)


Pari (fairy, angel)


Raka’ts (sections of prayers)


Bismillah! (In the name of God!)


Shorawi  (Soviets)


Rafiqs (companions, friends, comrades)


Spasseba (Russian for thank you)


Roussi (Russians)


Rubab strings (lute-like instrument)


Rowt cake (flat cake flavored with cardamom)


Moftakhir (proud)


Khanum (lady, Mrs.)


Potato bolani (covered in flour and fried in oil; wraps with potato filling))


Qabuli palaw (rice with carrots and sultanas plus meat)


Tassali (condolences)


Almond kolchas (cardamom-flavored cookies with an almond pressed onto the top)


Parchami (member of the Parcham faction of the communist PDPA)


Salaam, bachem (Hello, my child.)


Zendagi migzara (Life goes on.)


Balay (I do.) (Yes.)


Khastegars (suitors)


Yelda (first night of winter, longest night of the year)


Ahmaq (fool, stupid)


Nang (honor)


Namoos (pride, reputation, honor, dignity, fame))


Mozahem (intruder)


Khoda hafez ([God,safe] I’ll go now. Goodbye.)


Lochak (swindler)


Mohtaram  (respected)


Mojarad (single man)


Ahesta boro ([slow,go] Go slowly.)


Alef-beh ([A,B] the alphabet)


Komak! (Help!)


Iftikhar (pride, honor)


Khoshteep (handsome)


Ghazal (love song or poem)


Ihtiram (respect, veneration, honor)


Noor (light)


Shirini-khori (eating of the sweets ceremony, the engagement party)


Awroussi (wedding ceremony)


Nika (swearing ceremony of a wedding)


Ayena masshaf (mirror ceremony)


Chopan kabob (pieces of marinated lamb chop broiled on a skewer)


Sholeh-goshti (flame-broiled meat)


Sabzi challow (white rice with spinach and lamb)


Hijabs (head scarves worn by women, sometimes including a veil that covers the face)


Chila  (wedding ring)


Qurma (stew)


Ghazals (folksongs)


Maghbool (attractive)


Madar (mother)


Nazr (ceremony in which a sheep is killed and the money given to the poor)


Mujahedin (Afghans who fought the Russian invasion and occupation and then fought among themselves for control of the country)


Kho dega! (So!)?


Alahoo (God)


Nawasa (grandchild)


Jaroo (broomstick)


Kocheh-morgha (chicken bazaar)


Nihari (curry stew with beef or lamb)


Yar (familiar or affectionate form of address, especially among young people)


Ghamkhori  (self-pity)


Zendagi migzara (Life goes on)


Isfand (wild, aromatic plant burned to ward off misfortune)


Nazar  (the evil eye; sight, view, idea)


Pirhan-tumban (traditional dress)


Pakol (Nuristani style hat—soft and round)


Shari’a (Islamic law)


Burqa (head-to-toe covering worn by women)


Mehmanis (parties)


Dozd  (bandit)


Khar Khara mishnassah (Takes a donkey to know a donkey)


Hadia  (gift)


Bakhshesh (forgiveness, pardon; gift, tip)


Topeh chasht  (noon cannon)


Lotfan  (please)


Chai  (tea)


Mord  (dead)


Dil-roba ([heart, thief] very beautiful)


Shahbas!  (Bravo!)


Bia (Come.) 


Qorban (Muslim ceremony commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son)


Samosas (small triangular pastries stuffed with minced meat)


Biryani (Indian rice dish made with meat, vegetables, and yogurt)


Haddith (collection of Islamic tradition; traditions, teachings, stories of the prophet Mohammed accepted as a source of Islamic doctrine and law second only to the Koran)


Dostet darum  (I love you.)


Shalwar-kameez (traditional Afghan dress--long shirt and wide trousers)


Jai-namaz  (prayer rug)


La illaha il Allah, Muhammad u rasul ullah.  (There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.)


Masjid (mosque)


Zakat  (giving of alms)


Kamyab (lucky, winner)


Nah-kam  (unlucky)


Sawl-e-Nau  (Afghan New Year’s Day)


Cauliflower aush (stew)


Seh-parcha  (fabric)







A Good Read 



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