Uncommon Arabic Words for Clouds


root: ب-ر-د / noun / definition: cold

I spent last week roaming around Granada, charmed by its old streets of whitewashed houses, the views of majestic snow-capped mountains, and the stunningly detailed architecture of Alhambra (الحَمراء)—not to mention the Moroccan-style souqs and the flamenco dancers in the square whose stamping feet became the beat to which my trip played out.

And despite the cold that numbed my photo-taking hands in the early mornings, I still managed to come home with sunburn nearing the colour of a Granadan pomegranate (and that’s after spending €17 on a miniscule bottle of sunscreen, which may as well have been tanning oil).

Treated to cloudless skies in Granada, the first post I thought of writing upon my return was counterintuitively one about clouds. Maybe I missed them.

So, this is our second post in the Uncommon Arabic Words for… series and, like with the previous post, I’ll be updating this list of Arabic words as and when I come across new vocabulary.

The two most common words for “clouds” in Arabic are غُيوم and سَحاب. Here are some less common ones I’ve come across:




heavy clouds

(this word comes from the root ع-م-ي, related to blindness)

دَلوح / دُلُح

moisture-laden clouds

(دلوح is the singular, and دلح is the plural)


rain clouds



(I wonder if this is related to نَهر, river or نَهار, daytime in some way)

جَفْن (الماء)



cumulus clouds


wind-driven, tattered clouds



(this word is derived from the root غ-م-م, related to grief)

This last word, غمام, is the collective term whilst the plural form is غَمائِم (you’ll find collective, plural, and singular forms for most of the words in this list—the distinction between the categories is maybe something for a future post). And I came across an interesting phrase using this plural: لُبود من الغمائم, meaning “thick masses of clouds”.

لبود was a new word for me, but its root led me back to a familiar phrase: مُلَبَّد/مُتَلَبِّد بِالغُيوم, meaning “overcast” or “heavily clouded” in reference to the sky.

Do you know of any other Arabic words that refer to clouds? If you do, feel free to write them in the comments below!

!إلى اللقاء

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