'Hudood': the Arabic word for borders maps out social and political boundaries

The Arabic word of the week can be used in reference to personal space, a debt ceiling or limitless ambition

This week's Arabic word in focus means 'borders' in English.

Hudood is the Arabic word for borders and it can delineate personal space, ambitions and social boundaries as much as it can refer to political dividing lines.

Hudood eldawle is borders of a country. Tahdid hudood identifies borders or demarcation of boundaries and frontiers.

The borders of territorial waters can be referred to hudood miyah iqlimiyeh.

If someone’s stepping out of line or says something you find insulting, you could tell them iraf hudoodak/irafi hudoodik — know your limits. If someone crosses the line, you could say tajawazet hudoodak/tajawazti hudoodik.

Daa lil nas hudood lil taamol means to let people know how they can or cannot behave around you. In other words, you are drawing your social boundaries or hudood ijtimaaiye.

If you want to tell someone you care about that your love for them is endless, you could say hubi laka lays lahu hudood. If you’re planning to tell a woman, it would be hubi laki lays lahu hudood.

The word also has connotations related to the financial world. Hudood el madyooniye is a debt ceiling. Hudood asaar assaref is an exchange rate band.

Hudood can also refer to personal dreams and aspirations. If you’re a bit of a high achiever, you could say tumoohi laysa lahu hdood.

A popular 1984 comedy starring Syrian actor Duraid Lahham is called Al Hudood, and tells the story of a traveller who loses his passport when going between “Easternstan” and “Westernstan”.

In music, the word makes an appearance in Lebanese pop singer Carole Samaha’s 2019 hit Hudoodi El Sama (My Border is the Sky).

Updated: March 11, 2022, 6:01 PM