Arab Times – Telling The Time In Arabic

Arab Times – Telling The Time In Arabic


When making plans, appointments, and travel arrangements in Arabic speaking countries, you need to be able to state days and tell the time in Arabic. We’ve already posted an article about days in Arabic, so let’s cover the time words as well. 
First, however, let’s get familiar with some vocabulary on the subject of time.


Clock in Arabic /Saa’at haa’it / ساعة حائط

Time in Arabic /Waqt/ وقت

Minute in Arabic /Daqeeqah/ دقيقة

Nighttime in Arabic /Waqt illayl/ وقت الليل

Daytime in Arabic /Annahaar/ النهار

Morning in Arabic /Sabaah/صباح

Noon in Arabic /Waqt adhaheera/ وقت الظهيرة

Afternoon in Arabic /Ba’d adhuhur/ بعد الظهر

Sunset /Al maghrib/ المغرب

Sunrise /Shurooq a’shams/ شروق الشمس

Day /Yaum/ يوم

Night /Layl/ ليل

Evening in Arabic /Masaa’/ مساء

Half in Arabic /Nisf/ نصف

Quarter in Arabic /Rub’/ ربع

Also, depending on which Arab country you’re in or planning to visit, you may see either the 12-hour clock being used or the 24-hour clock, or sometimes both. Anyway, what you should know is that:

AM in Arabic is translated as sabaahan. صباحا

PM in Arabic is translated as masaa’n.  مساءً

If you would like to ask someone What time is it in Arabic, you should either say:

kam assaa’ah? / كم الساعة / What time is it?

kam assaa’ah al’aan? / كم الساعة الآن / What time is it now?

We recommend the second version for the following reason: the word kam (كم) in Arabic is often used in interrogative phrases to ask about the price of something. In this case, kami as-sa’ah? might easily be understood as if you were asking about the price of the watch itself (“How much is the watch?”). The additional word al’aan ( الآن), which means “now” in English, makes it clear to the person you are referring to the current time and not the price of his or her watch.


Telling the time in Arabic is very easy as Arabs use ordinal numbers with hours, except one o’clock, as follows:

English versionTransliterationArabic version
One O’clock in
Arabic
assaa’ah alwaahidahالساعة الواحدة
Two O’clock in 
Arabic
assaa’ah athaaniyahالساعة الثانية
Three O’clock in 
Arabic
assaas’ah athaalithahالساعة الثالثة
Four O’clock in 
Arabic
assaa’ah arraabi’ahالساعة الرابعة
Five O’clock in 
Arabic
assaa’ah alkhaamisahالساعة الخامسة
Six O’clock in 
Arabic
assaa’ah assaadisahالساعة السادسة
Seven O’clock in 
Arabic
assaa’ah assaabi’ahالساعة السابعة
Eight O’clock in 
Arabic
assaa’ah athaaminahالساعة الثامنة
Nine O’clock in 
Arabic
assaa’ah attaasi’ahالساعة التاسعة
Ten O’clock in
Arabic
assaa’ah al’aashirahالساعة العاشرة
Eleven O’clock in
Arabic
assaa’ah alhaadiyah ‘ashraالساعة الحادية عشرة
Twelve O’clock in
Arabic
assaa’ah athaaniyah ‘ashraالساعة الثانية عشرة



To say “past” in Arabic, natives use و /wa/ “and” which comes after the hour, so “half past two” in Arabic would literally be “two o’clock and a half” / الساعة الثانية والنصف

PastTransliterationو / wa
Five past in Arabicwa khamsa daqaa’iqوخمس دقائق
Ten past in Arabicwa ‘ashr daqaa’iqوعشر دقائق
Quarter past in Arabicwa arrub’والربع
Twenty past in Arabicwa athulthوالثلث
Half past in Arabicwa annisfوالنصف




To say “to”, Arabs use إلا / illa which comes after the hour, so “quarter to three” in Arabic would literally be “three o’clock less a quarter” / الساعة الثالثة إلا الربع

ToTransliterationإلا / ella
Five to in Arabicilla khams daqaa’iqإلا خمس دقائق
Ten to in Arabicilla ‘ashr daqaa’iqإلا عشر دقائق
Quarter to in Arabicilla arrub’إلا الربع
Twenty to in Arabicilla athulthإلا الثلث