40 Arabic Words Transformed into Illustrations of Their Literal Meanings

Although it can be tough to learn and understand, the alphabet of the Arabic language is quite a sight to look at and a great source of fascination for those interested in languages. Fun fact, the Arabic alphabet doesn’t have any short vowel letters. Instead, it has what is called “harakat”_features_ that are placed on top, sometimes at the bottom, of consonants to indicate what vowel sound should follow. Every letter of the alphabet changes shape depending on what position it has on a word. It is also a very flexible writing system that allows for incredible calligraphic work. Drawing on this flexibility, Alexandria-based graphic designer  Mahmoud Tammam combined his love of words and his expertise as a designer to turn words into artworks. He transformed Arabic words into beautiful and neatly drawn illustrations of their meanings. Scroll through them and let us know your favorites.

1. Cat_Qit

2. Fox_Tha’lab.

3. Whale_Huut.


4. Koala_Koala.

5. Dog_Kalb.

6. Coffee_Qahwa.


7. Giraff_Zarafa.

8. Duck_Bat.

9. Watermelon_Bittikh.


10. Castle_Kala’a.

11. Mouse_Fa’r.

12. Rabbit_Arnab.


13. Cairo_Al-kahira.

14. Llama_llama.

15. Monkey_Kird.


16. Gazelle_Ghazal.

17. Shark_Kirsh.

18. Ape_Kird.


19. Tiger_Fahd.

20. She_Hiya.

21. Eagle_Nasr.


22. Peacock_Tawous.

23. Rhino_Khirtit.

24. Bicycle_Darraja.


25. Octopus. Okhtubuut.

26. Crown_Taaj.

27. Bear_Duub.


28. Owl_Buuma.

29. Camel_NaaQa.

30. Freedom_Hurriya.


31. Lion_Assad.

32. Horse_Hissan.

33. Seal_FoQma.


34. Tea_Chai.

35. Ant_Namla.

36. Ink_Hibr.


37. Elephant_Feel.

38. Passion_’iishQ.

39. Ox_Thawr.


40. Rams_Jaadiy.


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