Right and left: راست و چپ

Because like I tell my daughter, by now we should know our right from our left:

  • Right: راست (rāst), which can also mean “true” or “truthful” but does not mean “right” in the sense of “correct”
  • Left: چَپ (chap)
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Points of the compass: نقطه از قطب نما

The Persian word for “compass” is قُطب نُما (quṭb-numā), or “index of poles.” “Points” is نُقطه (nuqṭah), a loanword from Arabic. Here are the main directions (جِهَت jihat, plural جِهَتها jihat-hā) on the compass–these may be familiar to you:

  • north: شمال (shamāl)
  • south: جَنوب (janūb)
  • east: شَرق (sharq)
  • west: غَرب (gharb)

These can be combined to form the derivative compass points:

  • northeast: شمال شَرقی (shamāl sharqī)
  • northwest: شمال غَربی (shamāl gharbī)
  • southwest: جَنوب غَربی (janūb gharbī)
  • southeast: جَنوب شَرقی (janūb sharqī)

FYI, since it’s relevant to our topic and our language, in Persian “the Middle East” is سرق میانه (sharq-i miyānah).