Talk about football in Arabic

Published 2021-06-14

Do you like football and want to learn Arabic? Then I suggest that you keep reading.

Since the European Championship is going on now, I will talk about some Arabic words and sentences related to football.

We start with the word football. In English, "football" is a composition of the words "foot" and "ball". The same goes for Arabic.

The Arabic word for "ball" is (kura).


The Arabic word for "foot" is (qadam).


If we combine them, we have the Arabic word for football: (quratu l-qadami). Literally, (quratu l-qadami) means "ball of the foot".


This type of composition is called idafa construction in Arabic. The word (kura) also occurs in idafa constructions related to other sports. For example (kuratu s-sillati) that means basketball, literally "ball of the basked", and (kuratu l-miDrabi) that means tennis, literally "ball of the racket".

Game and player

Since we talk about sports, we should know the Arabic words for "play/game", "player" and "to play". These three words are related in English. They also are related in Arabic.

We start with the verb. If you want to say "he played" in Arabic, you say (la3iba). Since this form (past tense masculine singular) also is the basic form of the verb, (la3iba) means both "to play" and "he played".

to play

You way be wondering what (3) is. It is the characteristic Arabic letter the letter ayn.

We move on to "player" that is (laa3ib) in Arabic. Note that it is a long vowel (aa) between the letter l and the letter 3.


The Arabic word for "game" is (lu3ba). The word also means "play".


I'm sure you can see that the words (la3iba), (laa3ib) and (lu3ba) are related. Arabic words that are related normally has three letters in common, those three letters are called the root of the word. In this case, the three common letters are l, 3, b.

We can look at another relative: the word (ma3lab) that means "field" or "stadium".


The word (ma3lab) also contains the three letters l, 3 and b. It also starts with (ma) which is a common prefix for words that describe a place.

Football in Arabic compositions

We already learned a lot of new Arabic words. Now we can combine them into new words. But first, I want to repeat what we learned in the beginning: Football is a composition of the word (kura) that means "ball" and the word (qadam) that means "foot".


In English, we can extend the word "football" with new words to create new compositions. That we can also do in Arabic.

We know that (ma3lab) means "field" and (kuratu l-qadami) means "football". If we combine them, we get (ma3labu kurati l-qadami) that means "the football field" or "the football pitch".

the football pitch

Literally, (ma3labu kurati l-qadami) means "field of ball of the foot".

To say "the football game" in Arabic, we say (lu3batu kurati l-qadami). You may figure out that it literally means "game of ball of the foot".

the football game

Now you may be able to guess how we say "the football player" in Arabic. If not, I can remind you that "player" is (laa3ib) in Arabic. Now you might figure out that "the football player" is (laa3ibu kurati l-qadami) in Arabic.

the footballer

About Arabic idafas

So far, we have looked at four idafa constructions. From these, we can draw some conclusions about Arabic idafa constructions.

Football idafas
kuratu l-qadami
mal3abu kurati l-qadami
lu3batu kurati l-qadami
laa3ibu kurati l-qadami

An idafa consists of at least two words, but may contain as many words as we like.

The first word in an idafa construction ends with a short vowel. Either (u), (a), or (i). The idafas we have looked at so far are in their basic form and therfore their first words end in (u).

The words that are not first have the vowel (i) in the end. In grammtic terms, this is called genitive case.

Only the last word can be prefixed with the definite article (al). But notice that only (l) is left from the article (al) in these idafas since the vowel a is assimilated with the final vowel of the word preceding it. If the last word is prefixed by (al), the entire idafa construction is in definite form. If not, the last word ends with (in) and the entire idafa construction has indefinite form.

I play football

Now we will look at two verbal sentences. We start by repeating the Arabic word (la3iba) that means "he played".

to play

If you change tense from past tense to present tense, we get (yal3abu) that means "he plays".

he plays

If we instead want to say "I play", then we change the beginning of the verb and say ('al3abu).

I play

If we add our well known idafa construction (kuratu l-qadami) after the verb, we get the sentence "I play football".

I play football.

Here you can see that is says (kurata) instead of (kuratu). As mentioned, the first word of an idafa construction ends in either (u), (a) or (i). The vowel is (a) in this case since the idafa construction funcions as an object in the sentence

The Arabic verb ('aHabba) means "he loved".

to love

If we change the tense from past to present, we get (yuHibbu) that means "he loves".

he loves

If we instead want to say "I love", we change the beginning of the verb and say ('uHibbu).

I love

If we add (kurati l-qadami) after this verb, we get the sentence "I love football".

I love football.

Champoinships and cups

Since the European Championship is happening now, we can learn how to say that in Arabic.

European Championship

The European Championship in Arabic is also an idafa that literally means "championship of nations of Europe".

Championship is (buTuula) in Arabic.


It is related to the word (baTal) that means hero.

The Arabic word for "nation" is ('umma).

community, nation

The plural version, ie "nations", is ('umam).


You can probably figure out that 'uruuba means Europe


Note that the letter p has been changed into b. This is because p is not available in the Arabic alphabet.

The Arabic word for "the world championship" is (buTuulatu l-3aalami).

world championship

That is also an idafa, and its first word is also (buTuula) that means "championship".


The second word is (3aalam) which means "world".


The world championship in football is also called the World Cup. In Arabic, that is (ka'su l-3aalami).

World Cup

We can recognize the second word (3aalam) that means "world". The first first word is (ka's) that means cup. Just like in English, cup can be both a trophy and something you drink from. The diffrence is that (ka's) in Arabic is a glass, for example something you drink water or wine from.

cup, glass

More football in Arabic

Now we have talked enough about football for this time. On this website, there are even more words and sentences that is related to football. Since they all are labeled with the category football, you can find them all in one page.

Before we finish, I would like to share two images showing football related words and sentences available on this website. I created and uploaded the images on my Pinterest account about three years ago. The difference compared to the images on my Pinterest account is that I have added a watermark, since I found out that the images were used without being referred to my webiste.

Do you think that I have mentioned all the important words regarding football? If there are any football terms you want me to add, please comment below.