Transportation: نقل

Some vocabulary to help you get around. I’m trying something a little different here in that, when dealing with cognates or near-cognates, I’m going to give you the pronunciation rather than the English transliteration, which you’ll probably never need.

  • car: ماشین (māshīn), اتومبیل (“automobile”)
  • truck: کامیون (kāmyūn), meaning something capable of carrying freight
  • motorcycle: موتورسیکلت (“motorcyclet”)
  • bus: اتوبوس (“autobus”)
  • train: قطار (qiṭār)
  • plane: هواپیما (havāpaymā)
  • boat/ship/ferry: کشتی (kishtī)
  • bicycle: دو چرخه (dū charkhah), literally “two-wheeler”
  • taxi: تاكسی (“taxi”)
  • walking (verb): راه رفتن (rāh raftan)
    • “a walk”: راهروی (rāh-rūy)
  • running (verb): دویدن (davīdan)

Severe weather and natural disasters

Following on from last time, let’s see what vocabulary we’d need if the weather got a little rougher.

  • storm: طوفان (ṭūfān)
  • thunderstorm: طوفان تندری (ṭūfān-i tundarī) OR طوفان رعد و برق (ṭūfān-i raʿd-o-barq)

    • thunder: تندر (tundar) OR رعد (raʿd)
    • lightning: برق (barq) OR آذرخش (āżarakhsh) OR صاعقه (ṣāʿiqah)
  • monsoon: موسم بارندگی (mawsam bārandagī, “seasonal rainfall”)
  • flood: سیل (sayl)
  • tornado: گردباد (gardbād)
  • blizzard: کولاک (kūlāk)
  • hurricane (tropical cyclone): طوفان (ṭūfān) OR تندباد (tundbād)
  • sandstorm: طوفان شن (ṭūfān-i shin)
  • drought: خشکی (khushkī)
  • volcano: آتش‌فشان (ātish-fishān)

    • volcanic eruption: فوران آتش‌فشان (fūrān-i ātish-fishān)
  • earthquake: زلزله (zilzilah) OR زمین‌لرزه (zamīn-larzah)
  • tsunami: سونامی (sūnāmī)
  • avalanche: بهمن (bahman)
  • landslide: زمین لغزش (zamīn-laghzish)

هوا (weather)

Let’s look at some basic weather-related vocabulary, shall we?

  • weather: هوا (havā) — this also means “air” or “atmosphere”

    • sun: آفتاب (āftāb) or خورشید (khūrshīd), though the latter is more symbolic; “sunny” is آفتابی (āftābī)
    • clouds: ابرها (abrhā), a single cloud is ابر (abr)
    • rain: باران (bārān); “rainy” is بارانی (bārānī)
    • fog: مه (mah); “foggy” is مه آلود (mah ālūd)
    • snow: برف (barf — yes, “barf”); “snowy” is برفی (barfī)
    • hail: تگرگ (tagarg)
    • wind: باد (bād) OR طوفان (ṭūfān); “windy” is طوفانی (ṭūfānī)
    • breeze: نسیم (nasīm)
    • gust: تند باد (tund bād) — “fast wind”
  • temperature: درجه حرارت (darajah-yi ḥarārat), “degree of heat”

    • cold: سرد (sard)
    • cool: خنک (khunuk)
    • hot/warm: گرم (garm)
  • humidity: رطوبت (ruṭūbat)

    • humid: مرطوب (murṭūb)
    • dry: خشک (khashk)

“How’s the weather?”: هوا چطور است (havā chiṭūr ast)

“It’s sunny”: هوا آفتابیست (havā āftābīst) or simply آفتابی (āftābī); change accordingly

“It’s raining”: بارانیست (bārānīst) — “it’s rainy” — OR می‌ بارد (mī bārad) OR باران می آید (bārān mī āyad) — “rain is coming”

“It’s snowing”: برف می‌ بارد (barf mī bārad)

“It’s cold today”: امروز هوا سرد است (imrūz havā sard ast) or simply امروز سرد است (imrūz sard ast)

رمضان ۱۴۳۶

Sundown tonight will be the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan for some people around the world (moon observations make it hard to pinpoint these things exactly), so if you’re interested please enjoy my past writing on the topic.

Persian Word a Day

There’s much more about the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which begins this evening for most Muslims around the world, over on the Arabic blog, if you’re so inclined.

My purpose here is only to give you some Persian greetings you can offer for the month. If you’ve read that Arabic entry then this will be pretty simple, because we’re just using the same Arabic greetings, رَمَضان مُبارَك (ramażān mubārak), “Blessed Ramadan!” and رَمَضان كَريم (ramażān karīm), “Generous Ramadan!” The only difference is in pronunciation, where you’ll notice that the Arabic ramaḍān, with a deep “d” sound, is in Persian pronounced ramażān, with a regular “z” sound. The letter ض, which has a deep “d” sound in Arabic, takes a “z” sound in Persian, which you already knew because you read our guide to Persian pronunciation, obviously.

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Persian Numbers III: 11-1000

For the numbers 1-10, see here.

Like English, Persian has slightly altered forms for the numbers 11-19 (though they all tack on the number ten, دَه, at the end, like the English “-teen” for ten) but then everything after that just takes the form “x and y” (in Persian, a number like twenty-four would read “twenty and four”), which is lucky for us because it means that after we get through 19 we just have to hit a few examples and we’ve got all the numbers covered to 1000 (really we could go past 1000, but numbers are infinite and our time here is not, so 1000 is where we’re stopping for now).

English name

Western Arabic numeral

Persian numeral

Persian name

Persian name transliterated















































Now we can count by 10s or more:

  • 20 (twenty): ۲۰ (بیست, bīst)
  • 30 (thirty): ۳۰ (سی, )
  • 40 (forty): ۴۰ (چِهِل, chihil)
  • 50 (fifty): ۵۰ (پَنجاه, panjāh)
  • 60 (sixty): ۶۰ (شَصت, shaṣt)
  • 70 (seventy): ۷۰ (هَفتاد, haftād)
  • 80 (eighty): ۸۰ (هَشتاد, hashtād)
  • 90 (ninety): ۹۰ (نَوَد, navad)

And now by hundreds:

  • 100 (one hundred): ۱۰۰ (صَد, ṣad)
  • 200 (two hundred): ۲۰۰ (دِویست, divīst)
  • 300 (three hundred): ۳۰۰ (سیصد, sīṣad)
  • 400 (four hundred): ۴۰۰ (چَهارصد, chahārṣad)
  • 500 (five hundred): ۵۰۰ (پانصد, pānṣad)
  • 600 (six hundred): ۶۰۰ (شِشصد, shishṣad)
  • 700 (seven hundred): ۷۰۰ (هَفتصد, haftṣad)
  • 800 (eight hundred): ۸۰۰ (هَشتصد, hashtṣad)
  • 900 (nine hundred): ۹۰۰ (نُهصد, nuhṣad)
  • 1000 (one thousand): ۱۰۰۰ (هِزار, hizār)

Combining numbers is easy:

  • 21 (twenty-one): ۲۱ (بیست و یک, bīst-ū-yik, “beest-oh-yek”)
  • 84 (eighty-four): ۸۴ (هشتاد و چهار, hashtād-ū-chahār)
  • 562 (five hundred sixty-two): ۵۶۲ (پانصد و شصت و دو, pānṣad-ū-shaṣt-ū-du)
  • 1357 (one thousand three hundred fifty-seven): ۱۳۵۷ (هزار و سیصد و پنجاه و هفت, hizār-ū-sīṣad-ū-panjāh-ū-haft)

To somebody accustomed to a left-to-right writing system, it seems like Persian strangely writes its large numerals left-to-right (above, “562” is ۵۶۲), even though the rest of the language is written from right-to-left, and, frankly, this is strange in the case of Persian. However, this is how you write numbers in Arabic script because Arabic reads numbers from smallest to largest, not largest to smallest like us we do in English (or like they do in Persian). This is one case where the adopted script doesn’t completely map to the particulars of the language.

میلاد پیامبر اکرم

The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, called میلادِ پَیامبَرِ اکرَم (mīlād-i payāmbar-i akram) in Persian, is being observed today, the 12th of the Hijri month ربيع اول (if you want to be technical about it, the commemoration started at sundown last night, and I guess it’s ended by now in most of the world, but it’s still worth noting). Though not one of the major Islamic holidays, many Muslims do commemorate Muhammad’s birth with decorations and by exchanging small gifts or sweets.

Milad is not a universally celebrated holiday, for a couple of reasons. There’s no historical record of the earliest Muslims celebrating Muhammad’s birthday as a special event; the first widespread Milad celebration doesn’t appear in the record until the 12th century, though there are records of earlier, smaller observances. So for modern self-proclaimed “fundamentalists” the holiday is an innovation and therefore illegitimate. Honoring a historical figure’s birthday also comes too close to revering or worshiping that person for those arch-conservative groups, which would make it an example of the most serious sin in any monotheistic faith. So you’re not likely to find any sanctioned Milad celebrations in Saudi Arabia, or being organized by ISIS. But in most of the Islamic World Milad is treated as an important cultural marker if not an especially religious one, more Presidents Day than Christmas. This blog is certainly not in the business of litigating inter-Islamic religious debates, so I’m not here to comment on Milad’s legitimacy, but this does offer us a chance to explore a little vocabulary.

  • prophet: پیامبر (payāmbar) or نبی (nabī)
  • prophethood: نبوت (nubuwwat) or پیامبری (payāmbarī)
  • birthday: میلاد (mīlād) or زادروز (zādrūz)
  • to be born: متولد شدن (mutawallid shudan, “to become born”) or به دنیا آمدن (bih dunyā āmadan, “to come into the world”)