'Kura': Arabic word for ball rolls through life, love and everything else

After 28 days of World Cup excitement, we’re not quite ready to say goodbye to football

Kura is the Arabic word for ball, in all its forms
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Because of all the suspense and spice surrounding the Fifa World Cup, or despite it, there’s a melancholy that strikes when an event this big comes to an end. Even in its steady, four-year build up, the event is riveting and unifies the globe with all its dramatic and generally positive overtones. No matter what you think of football, it was hard to escape the excitement in the Arab world as Morocco led Mena’s entry into the final four, or when Saudi Arabia, against all expectations, defeated the would-be winners Argentina in their opening game.

It has been a thrilling 28 days and we’re not quite ready to say goodbye to football yet, so for this week's Arabic word we’ll be looking at one that embodies the sport, the world it animates and the globe.

Kura is Arabic for ball. Al kura al ardiya is Planet Earth or a globe representing it. Kurat al qadam is football. When the kura fi al marma, it means it’s in the goal; outside would be kharej al marma. When the "ball is in your court", you can say al kura al aan fi malaabak/malaabik.

Kurat al saleh is basketball. Kurat al yad, hand ball. Tennis is kurat al madreb. Kurat al billiard are billiard balls. Handasa kurawiya is spherical geometry. Blood cells are also known as kurat al dam. Kura al nariya is the mushroom cloud seen after a nuclear blast.

Here are a few quotes by famous footballers, but in Arabic. First by Lionel Messi:

“Fi kurat al qadam kama fi sinaa’t al sa’at, al mowheba wal anaqa la ya’niyan aia shai bidoon al diqqa wal sarama.”

“In football as in watchmaking, talent and elegance mean nothing without rigour and precision.”

Neymar on playing not to win prizes, such as the golden ball, but to be happy:

“Ana la ala’b li fowz bi jaizet al kura al dhahabiye, ala’ab kurat al qadam li akoon saeedan ― because I love playing it and want to play it.”

For Christian Ronaldo, life is meaningless without football:

“Bidoon kurat al qadam, al hayat la yisawi sheiyaan.”

Updated: December 23, 2022, 6:02 PM