The word بلاش

The colloquial word بلاش (balaash) is formed by adding the words بلا (balaa), meaning “without” with شي (shi), meaning “thing”. In terms of how it’s used in colloquial Levantine Arabic, you’ll find that بلاش will be used in three different contexts:

1.) بلاش can mean “nothing”, which you’ll find in a phrase such as أحسن من بلاش (a7san min balaash), which means “better than nothing”.

2.) بلاش can also mean “free”, in the context of getting an item for free. Whereas in Modern Standard Arabic the word for “free” is مجان (majaan), in Levantine Arabic, you can say أخدتها ببلاش (akhudt-ha bibalaash) which means “I got it for free,” with the literal translation being “I took [it] for free.”

يلا يا بلاش (yalla ya balaash) is a phrase that you may hear vendors in the region yell to signify that their items are a bargain. The phrase would translate to “come on, it’s free!”

3.) The third definition of بلاش would be the phrase “never mind”.

إذا ما فيه، بلاش (iza ma fi, balaash) translates to “if there isn’t any, then never mind”.

طيب، بلاش (Tayyib, balaash) translates to “Ok, never mind”.

ما بدك؟ بلاش (ma bidduck? Balaash) translates to “you don’t want to? Fine then.”

يا هيك يا بلاش (yaa heyk yaa balaash) translates to “if it’s not going to be this way, then I’m not interested”. The literal translation is “either this or nothing”. Keep in mind that whenever you see a phrase that uses “yaa [this] yaa [that]”, then it translates to “this or that”.

4.) Other uses of بلاش

متاخر ولا بلاش (mutaakhir wala balaash) translates to “better late than never”. The literal translation is “late, not without”.

بلاش may also be used as a negative command. If you wanted to command someone not to cry, then you would say بلاش تبكي (balaash tibki). If you wanted to command someone not to run, then you would say بلاش تركض (balaash tirkuD).


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