The verb سلم/يسلم

Hi everyone. My apologies for not updating the site for the past 3 months — I’ve been quite busy but alas I’ve found some free time to talk about the verb سلم/يسلم (silem/yislam), which is a verb that you’ll hear very often in Arabic expressions of good will. The literal meaning of the verb is to be safe, to be well, to be unharmed, etc. Please note the verb conjugations below:

أنا أسلم/سلمت (ana aslam/silemt)

أنت تسلم/سلمت (inta tislam/silemt)

إنتي تسلمي/سلمتي (inti tislami/silemti)

هو يسلم/سلم (huwa yislam/silem)

هي تسلم/سلمت (heya tislam/silemat)

إحنا نسلم/سلمنا (i7na nislam/silemnaa)

إنتو تسلمو/سلمتو (intu tislamu/silemtu)

هم يسلمو/سلمو (hum yislamu/silemu)

تسلم/تسلمي (tislam/tislami), which translates to “be well” is one of the many expressions for “thank you” that you’ll hear in the Levant. I’ve heard this expression used more frequently than شكرا (shukran) when indicating thanks.

يسلمو إيديك//إيديكي (yislamu yidayk/yidayki) is also an expression that’s often used when purchasing something. The literal translation would be “may your hands be well”. After the vendor hands you the item that you’ve purchased, you can simply reply “يسلمو إيديك” or “يسلمو إيديكي” to express your gratitude for the service.

سلم عليه/عليها/عليهم (sallem 3alayy/3alayyha/3alayyhum) translates to “say hi to him/her/them” with the literal translation being “be well on him/her/them”. If you want to alter the sentence to say “say hi to him for me” then you could simply add a “لي” after the command — “سلم لي عليه”.

يسلم راسكم (yislam raaskom), which means “may God preserve you in good health”, is said when you want to offer condolences to a family. The literal translation is “may your head be well”. On the topic of condolences, you could also say “الله يرحمه/يرحمها” (Allah yir7amu/yir7amha), which translates to “God bless him/her” or “May God have mercy on him/her”.

يسلم تمك (yislam tummuk) should be said to show appreciation for a song, story, poem, etc. The literal translation is “may your mouth be well”.

مش كل مرة تسلم الجرة (mish kull marra tislam il-jarra) is a proverb that literally translates to “the pitcher does not remain intact every time,” meaning that one should not repeat a risky action too often or push his or her luck too far.


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