How to Say “Minute” in Arabic

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to say “minute” in Arabic! In this guide, we will cover both the formal and informal ways to express this term. While Arabic encompasses various regional variations, we will primarily focus on the standard Arabic used across different Arab countries. Below, you’ll find a variety of tips, examples, and distinctions between formal and informal language usage.

Formal Terms for “Minute” in Arabic

In formal Arabic, you can use the word “دَقيقَة” (daqiiqa) to denote “minute.” This is a widely recognized term and appropriate to use in formal contexts across the Arab world.


1. سأتحدث معك بعد دقيقة. (Sa’atakallam ma’ak ba’da daqiiqa.)
Translation: I will speak with you in a minute.

2. التقطت هذه الصورة في الدقيقة الأخيرة. (Attaqtu hadhihi al-suurah fi al-daqiiqah al-akhirah.)
Translation: I took this picture in the last minute.

Informal Terms for “Minute” in Arabic

Informally, the Arabic language has several regional variations in expressing the term “minute.” Here are a few commonly used forms:

1. شوية or شوي (Shwayya or Shway)

The term “شوية” (shwayya) or its shortened version “شوي” (shway) are widely used informally as an equivalent of “minute.” These terms belong to the colloquial Egyptian Arabic dialect but are commonly understood and used across different Arab countries regardless of dialect.


1. انتظرني شوية بالسيارة. (Intazirni shwayya bil-sayyara.)
Translation: Wait for me a minute in the car.

2. قدّم المشروع شوي. (Qaddam al-mashruu’ shwayya.)
Translation: Submit the project in a minute.

2. دقيقة وحدة or دقيقة واحدة (Daqiiqah Wahida or Daqiiqah Wahada)

Another commonly used informal term for “minute” in certain dialects is “دقيقة وحدة” (daqiiqah wahida) or its variant “دقيقة واحدة” (daqiiqah wahada), which translate to “one minute.” These expressions are used in spoken Arabic in various regions.


1. خليني انتظر دقيقة وحدة براحة. (Khalleini intazir daqiiqah wahida bara’ah.)
Translation: Let me wait for a minute outside.

2. هاردلك عالفوز يا اتحاد، ربحنا بفارق دقيقة واحدة. (Hardlak ‘al-fawz ya ittihaad, rabbahna bifariq daqiiqah wahada.)
Translation: Hard luck on the loss, Union. We lost by a one-minute margin.

Additional Tips and Cultural Insights

1. Context Matters

When choosing between the formal and informal terms for “minute,” it’s crucial to consider the context and level of formality required. In formal settings, it is recommended to stick to “دَقيقَة” (daqiiqa). In informal settings, you can choose between “شوية” (shwayya) or “دقيقة وحدة” (daqiiqah wahida), based on the dialect and region.

2. Time Perception

Arabic-speaking cultures often have a more relaxed perception of time, so when someone says “دقيقة” (daqiiqa) in conversation, it might not always correspond exactly to a minute. It can be used more casually to represent a short period of time, but the precise length may vary depending on the situation and cultural norms.

3. Non-Verbal Gestures

When expressing “minute” verbally in Arabic, it can also be accompanied by non-verbal gestures. For example, holding up one finger or indicating a small distance between thumb and index finger can help emphasize the concept of a minute.

Did You Know? In some Gulf dialects, you may encounter the term “لحظة” (lahzah) used to mean “moment” or “in a minute.” Although it is not an exact equivalent of “minute,” it is worth noting this regional variation.

In Conclusion

To summarize, for a formal setting, “دَقيقَة” (daqiiqa) is the recommended term to express “minute” in Arabic. In informal settings, options like “شوية” (shwayya) or “دقيقة وحدة” (daqiiqah wahida) can be widely understood and used across different dialects. Remember to consider the context and level of formality when choosing the appropriate term. Keep in mind that Arabic-speaking cultures often have a relaxed perception of time. Don’t forget to utilize non-verbal gestures to reinforce the concept of a minute. Enjoy incorporating these new terms into your Arabic conversations and cultural exchanges!

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