'Bahr': Arabic for 'sea' has a poetic lilt but can be treacherous and sardonic

Bahrain gets its name from the dual form of bahr, or two seas, referring to the waters to the east and west of the island

Bahr hade is a calm sea. Getty

A calm sea is bahr hade. A sea with thrashing waves can be described as mad or bahr majnoon. The sea’s unpredictable nature has also given it a reputation for treachery in bahr elghadar.

Albihar alsabaa are the seven seas, an ancient expression used to signify the waters of the world.

The Mediterranean Sea is Al Bahr Al Abyad Al Mutawassit. The Red Sea is Al Bahr Al Ahmar. The Dead Sea is Al Bahr Al Mayyet.

Bahrain gets its name from the dual form of bahr, or two seas, referring to the waters east and west of the island. Aaali ilbihar is high waters.

A sailor is a bahar. Alquaat albahria are the naval forces.

A lake is a buhaira. Mowj il bahar is a wave in the sea. The lilt of the sea has also inspired Arabic poetry, as bahr also refers to specific poetic meters. There are a total of 16 buhur in classical Arabic poetry, each with a unique rhythmic structure.

A fun, and sardonic, way to tell someone to get lost is rooh ishrab min al baher, which literally translates as “go and drink from the sea".

The sea can also symbolise greed, especially in the expression balaa il baher, which translates as “he swallowed the sea".

A more palatable saying is ateeni haz u irmeeni bil bahr, which translates as “wish me luck and throw me to sea”. You can say it to people whose support you value, and can make you feel like you can do anything.

Iemol kheir u kibbo bilbahr is another good one. The expression literally translates as “do good and throw it out to sea”, and implies you shouldn't expect you'll be rewarded for doing good deeds and that the sea will return the favour.

Updated: April 08, 2022, 6:02 PM
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