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  • Writer's pictureSerafina Paladino

Learn the Similarities between Spanish and Arabic

It is fascinating to think about how a language that is commonly associated with Latin America has roots in an ancient language like Arabic.

Historical Background

As a life-long language learner, I did not uncover the similarities between Arabic and Spanish until recently. According to historical sources, this linguistic relationship began to form in 711 AD when the Arab and Berber peoples of North Africa, known as the Moors, conquered the Iberian Peninsula. The Moors ruled these lands for 800 years, and in this span of time they melded their language and culture with those of the Peninsula’s native inhabitants.

Spanish Today

To a great extent, Arabic influences the Spanish we speak today. Approximately 4,000 Spanish words, which amounts to 8% of the language in total, were originally derived from Arabic. Many of these words you already know and use in everyday conversations. Let’s take a look!

This is an infographic translating five Spanish words into Arabic.
Spanish and Arabic share many words in common.

Spanish Words Influenced by Arabic

  • aceituna from زيتون (zaytun) means olive

  • café from قهوة (qahua) or coffee

  • pantalones from بنطلون (bantalun) means pants

  • camisa from قميص (qamis) means shirt

  • hasta from حتى (hataa) means until

  • máscara from المسكرة (almuskara) means mask

  • azúcar from السكر (alsukar) means sugar

  • taza from تازة (taza) means cup

Common Expressions

  • “ojalá” (I hope) correlates with the Arabic expression “In sha’Allah” (if God wills)

  • “¡olé!” (a Spanish cheer) resembles “wa Ilâh” (by God), or “yāllāh” (O God) in Arabic

This is an infographic highlighting the similarities between a Spanish expression and an Arabic expression.
There are many interesting similarities between Spanish and Arabic.

Location Names:

  • Madrid is Arabic for “a breeze”

  • Andalusia means “the vandals”

  • Murcia means “an Egyptian”

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about these languages, ReDefiners has you covered!

We offered online language classes in Spanish and Arabic, so, you uncover their similarities through practice. For more information or to sign up, please visit our website or email us at

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