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What does "yah soosah" and "yah habibti" mean in Arabic?
March 26, 2012 8:17 AM   Subscribe

My dear Egyptian friend calls me "Yah Soosah" and "Yah Habibti." What does this mean? I'm pretty sure these are terms of endearment, but what do they mean? She said "yah soosah" is an old Egyptian word. Help me figure out the meaning of my new pet names. Thank you!!! : )
posted by thatgirl1985 to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not sure about Soosah, but Habibti is a very common term of endearment meaning "my love".
posted by Piglet at 8:19 AM on March 26, 2012


Habibi "is an Arabic word whose literal meaning is my beloved (for a male object of affection; the feminine form is habibti or habibati) and that originates from the adjective habib (beloved). In addition to its literal meaning, the term can denote any of several less formal relationships and can serve as a term of endearment at the corresponding level (e.g., friend or darling)."
posted by Ziggy500 at 8:19 AM on March 26, 2012


"Habibti" is the feminine of "darling" (a man would be addressed as "habibi"). The other one I don't know.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:19 AM on March 26, 2012


Good to know... hoping somebody knows what "yah soosah" means because every time she calls me that name, all her Egyptian friends laugh : )
posted by thatgirl1985 at 8:22 AM on March 26, 2012


"Soosah" means horse. "Yah" literally means "ya" kind of like when you say "YAAA, thatgirl" in a teasing manner.

So, when someone says "Yah Soosah" it basically means YAAA, HORSE but it is by no means an insult. It is just a way of joking around with people that you are comfortable with.

Seriously, some of my family members call each other "tawarta" which means cow. Don't ask me where this stuff comes from, but know that it is meant to be funny and a sign that two people are comfortable with each other.
posted by livinglearning at 8:35 AM on March 26, 2012


My mother calls my son Habibi, it's like the Arabic grandmother version of "my precious".

I've never heard horse pronounced like that, I've always heard it pronounced more like ho-SAN, with the ho being a gutteral throat sound like a pre-cough, and the o being a long o, like hotel.

That said, most of my exposure is to coastal Arabic, and there are so many dialects that a native speaker would know more much more than I.
posted by dejah420 at 8:51 AM on March 26, 2012



Seriously, some of my family members call each other "tawarta" which means cow. Don't ask me where this stuff comes from, but know that it is meant to be funny and a sign that two people are comfortable with each other.


My father calls my mother 'buffalo' but the word and the way its used would convey its affection and intimacy to a native speaker of the language. Your Soosah could be something like that yet I can see how if it were similar, it would still make people laugh. (My mother was skinny as a young woman and its the equivalent of calling a huge linebacker 'Tiny')
posted by infini at 9:11 AM on March 26, 2012


I think 'susah' means 'moth'.
posted by Paquda at 9:54 AM on March 26, 2012


"Yah" literally means "ya" kind of like when you say "YAAA, thatgirl" in a teasing manner.

Really? I was taught that it's the way to indicate that you are addressing a person directly.
posted by Nothlit at 11:20 AM on March 26, 2012


Something else to consider: the tone that your friend(s) say "yah soosa" in because it can mean either what I said earlier on or what Nothlit also said...

Anyways, I'll confirm with my mother who speaks Arabic and get back to this thread later on.
posted by livinglearning at 1:12 PM on March 26, 2012


Yeah, "ya" is vocative, how you address someone directly. It's used to say things like "Ya Muhammad" and "Ya Allah" etc., so it's not necessarily indicative of a jokey/flirty/HAAYYY GIRL tone.
posted by pullayup at 1:22 PM on March 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


'soosah' might also mean a piece of licorice.
posted by Paquda at 8:07 AM on March 27, 2012


Thanks for the answers, everyone. I finally asked my friend to describe the meaning of yah soosah to the best of her ability in English. She said it means someone who is "clever and asks many questions." Someone who wants to know things. She said the literal meaning is a small insect that flies. So the "moth" answer was probably right. So I'm a BELOVED MOTH. Awesome! : )
posted by thatgirl1985 at 8:49 AM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


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