BINGO: Love Words in Classical Arabic

It’s February and that means that love is in the air! Each year on February 14 – Valentine’s Day – people in all parts of the world exchange candy, flowers, and gifts to express their affection for each other. The Arab culture is welcoming and passionate and believes in expressing love throughout the year.

The word for “love” in Arabic appears in many forms and the Arabic language views love as a complex spectrum, containing various stages. While some of these words imply tenderness, others denote a love sometimes so strong it hurts.

For example, during the initial stage of love, the word “hawa” (هوى) means “showing an inclination towards somebody,” while the word “shagaf” (شغف) means “whole-hearted love.”

Later, as a relationship progresses, the word “gharam” (غرام) means “preoccupied by loving someone at all times,” while the word “huyyam” (هيام) is as specific as “mystified love resembling the psychological state similar to extreme thirst.”

Finally, there are words that describe a deep love such as “tawq” (توق) a “longing love involving an internal struggle leading to personal sacrifice,” and “walah”(وله) a “passionate love resembling losing one’s mind.”

Inspired by our love infographic, we created a “BINGO” game for teachers, students, and clubs to help familiarize and learn some of the many Arabic words for love.

You can download the 10 Bingo cards with transliteration here.

You can download the 10 Bingo with no transliteration cards here.

You can download the key here.

Each player receives a Bingo card. A teacher or student can use the key to explain or read each word. If a student locates that word on his/her card, that square is filled in. This continues until one player completes a ‘Bingo’ pattern, a line of five words in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row and calls out “BINGO” or maybe “HABIBI!”

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