Arabic Swear Words

24 Nov 2006

So, I have this evil character in my novel ("Yasser") from Saudi Arabia. (Not the guy pictured above. For that, I simply Googled "angry Arab.") I know what you're thinking: Why does the Arabic guy always have to be the antagonist? What a cliche... But it's not like that, really. More specifically, I mean that this isn't the product of the whole post-9/11 era. There are in fact a valid, logical, and plot-integral reasons he's from Saudi Arabia that have nothing to do with terrorism.

Anyway, I know I'm supposed to be plowing through as fast as possible to get to 50,000 words, but I've had to do at least some research, right? In an effort to write up some marginally believable descriptions, I've been likely setting off all kinds of bells and whistles at the nearest NSA internet monitoring facility. I'm sure I'll have a G-man show up at my doorstep at any moment quoting Patriot Act language and confiscating my laptop.

For starters, there's been the usual Wikipedia routine and a lively evening of browsing through some Arabic sites filtered through a Google translation service. This was entertaining, actually -- though surreal. For example, in Saudi Arabia, they have broadly empowered religious police running around who work for the "Center for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice." I'm pretty sure you're not even allowed to have impure thoughts over there (which is really odd, as they seem to have some amazingly vulgar insults -- which I'll get to in a moment).

Anyway, while that could be an interesting topic of discussion for later on, I wanted to share an extremely "not safe for work" page with you all today. This is part of my ongoing effort to alienate as many readers as possible. Someday, I'll manage to offend you all. Of that, I'm sure.

Anyway, back in college, we had this friend named Chuck. Actually, his name was a traditional Lebanese name that sort of sounded like Chuck, so we all called him that. Come to think of it, he routinely told people to call him Chuck. Though he was a very mild mannered guy, I have to think that, deep down, he probably felt a bit of frustration at no one being willing to make an effort to pronounce his real name. After we got to know him, he did finally share his real name with us -- and it wasn't any more difficult to say than many traditional English names. But, like I said, I suppose he'd simply given up after encountering a string of idiots who couldn't be bothered with "foreigners."

But, Chuck was a good friend. We hung out a lot and he eventually taught us some jucier tidbits of the Arabic language. One such word, if I recall correctly, sounded like "ate-a-feel." Or, perhaps it was "et-a-feel." A curt, unassuming little snippet, how awful could it be? Well, according to Chuck, it translated roughly into "my dick - it is in you." Saying "ate-a-feel" to an Arab would be tantamount to, say, walking into a bar in West Virginia and loudly announcing your opinion that all Harley riders are fags.

I'm not sure how true it is. But, it's true enough for my purposes, you know? So, I decided to poke around a bit for Arab-language swear words. I simply needed my antagonist to utter something foul in his own language (which, conveniently, he doesn't speak much of elsewhere). If I could find the proper spelling for ate-a-feel, that would be great! So, I found this web page (link blow).

Be warned: It has porn ads down both sides of the page. But, if you've always wondered how to say any of the following things in Arabic, this is the page for you:

A thousand dicks in your religion!
An infection to your dick!
May you be stabbed by a dick!
My dick in your mother's rib cage!
Your mom's tits are on a pole!
Damn your seventh grandfather!
I'll fuck your God!
I'll fuck you and your grandma!
Shut up man-bitch and open your mouth!
Your mother committed adultery with a monkey!

I'll admit: I added the exclamation marks, above. I thought they were funnier that way. There are probably a hundred or more on that page, each one weirder than the last (some of which I wanted to post here, but didn't want to ruin the delightful surprises for anyone who goes there).

You've been warned, though.

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