Amharic Phrases & Expressions
Hi everyone. I decided to make a list of some Amharic phrases that my mom likes to throw around the house all the time. This are just a few of them but I will definitely make another post with more phrases and expressions. So until then have fun with these:
አይዞህ (m) አይዞሽ (f) (ayzoh/ayzosh) - this phrase can mean ‘it’s okay’, ‘it’s going to be okay’ ‘I hope you didn’t hurt yourself’ or ‘don’t worry’ depending on the situation. We use it to comfort others whether they’re hurting emotionally or physically. For most people it’s a habit to say ayzoh/ayzosh before asking if you’re okay.
እሰይ! (issey!) - this phrase has both positive and negative meanings. It can mean ‘good for you!’ or ‘I’m glad this happened’ when it’s used after hearing a positive news like, passing a test or getting engaged. But it can also be used when, lets say someone was plotting to harm you and they end up hurting themselves or something, then it is used as ‘you deserved it’.
እኔን (enen) - this is a way of apologizing. We say it if we hurt someone accidentally; crash into them, trip them, drop something on them, etc. The closest definition it has in English is ‘it’s on me’, ‘my fault’ or ‘my bad’.
እንትን (intin) - a filler word. When you can’t think of the thing you want to say you can replace it with this phrase. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the beginning, the middle or the end of a sentence. After you remember what you were going to say you come back to fix our sentence.
እንብላ (inibla) - ‘Let’s eat’. If your’re eating and someone else comes in, you say this to invite them to join you. It’s etiquette to say it in Ethiopian culture.
አደራ (adera) - when a person passes a valuable belonging of theirs to someone to look after, they use this phrase to let them know they have a big responsibility. For example if your’re going to babysit somebody’s little kid, usually the mother will say adera lijaen. (Ligaen means ‘my kid’). The phrase adera contains ‘please’ ‘take cake of my child’ ‘promise to protect them’ ‘I’m trusting you’ all in one word. It’s nothing to be taken lightly.
በናትህ(m) በናትሽ(f) benatih/benatish - basically means ‘please’. This phrase is very informal and is mostly used with family and friends. The root word here is inat which means ‘mother’. So when someone says this, they’re pleading you with your mother (that sounds very weird I know). But think of it of like this phrase; ‘for the love of God’.
ጎበዝ (gobez) - this is like saying ‘good job!’ used to praise someone for an achievement. It can also be used as ‘c’mon’ to encourage someone to keep going or to tell them that’re doing well. Another use of this phrase is to describe someone who is smart or clever.
ይማርሽ/እደጊ (yimarish/idegi) - we say this when people sneeze. the first one is mostly for adults and its literal meaning is “God forgive you”. The second one is used mostly for kids. It means grow up. It sounds harsh in English but when you say it in Amharic your’re just wishing for the kid to grow in life, love, success, and every other good thing
እንዴ! (indee!) - this phrase can be used to express indignation or surprise. It doesn’t have a literal meaning in English but I think it’s similar to this idiom; “for crying out loud”
I hope you found this list a little helpful. I tried my best explaining the meanings for each phrase but I understand if they’re confusing or don’t make a lot of sense. If you want examples or anything message me and I’ll be happy to help you out.