The Nisba form in Arabic

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Nisba or Nisbe (Arabic: نسبة) is the adjective form in Arabic that is formed with the suffix ending -i. There is also the feminine form of it, recognizable by the additional -a. In Arabic, this adjective form looks like this: يّ- or يّة-. We provide you with the Nisba form in Arabic.

The function of the Nisba adjectives

Nisba adjectives denote tribal affiliation, place of origin, denomination, or job title.

Expressing the belonging to a tribe in Arabic

someone from the tribe of bani Hashim (a tribe in the region of Makkah and Medina)هاشمي, هاشمية
someone from the tribe of Thamud (an extinct tribe mentioned in the Qur’anتمودي, ثمودية

Expressing the origin of a place in Arabic

The origin, i. w. which country someone comes from, is marked with the Nisba. Take a look at the examples below and learn some Arabic city and country names at the same time.

someone from Egypt مصري, مصرية
someone from Algeriaجزائري, جزائرية
someone from Bahrainبحريني, بحرينية
someone from Djoboutiجيبوتي, جيبوتية
someone from Eritreaإرتري, إرترية
someone from Iraqعراقي, عراقية
someone from Yemenيمني, يمنية
someone from Jordanأردني, أردنية
someone from Qatarقطري, قطرية
someone from Comorosقمري, قمرية
someone from Kuwaitكويتي, كويتية
someone from Lebanonلبناني, لبنانية
someone from Libyaليبي, ليبية
someone from Morocco مغربي, مغربية
someone from Mauritaniaموريطاني, موريطانية
someone from Omanعماني, عمانية
someone from Palestineفسطيني, فلسينية
someone from Saudi Arabiaسعودي, سعودية
someone from Somaliaصومالي, صومالية
someone from Sudan سوداني, سودانية
someone from Syriaسوري, سورية
someone from Chadتشادي, تشادية
someone from Tunisiaتونسي, تونسية
someone from the United Arab Emiratesاماراتي, اماراتية

The Nisba can also be used to express which city a person comes from.

Expressing denomination in Arabic

christianمسيحي, مسيحية
jew, jewishيهودي, يهودية
islamic – but does not mean Muslimإسلامي, إسلامية

Building job titles in Arabic

pharmacistصيدلاني, صيدلانية
mechanicميكانيكي, ميكانيكية
journalistصحلفي, صحافية
judgeقاضي, قاضية
politicianسياسي, سياسية
gardenerبستاني, بستانية
police officerشرطي, شرطية
soldierجندي, جندية

Casus of the Nisba

Nisba, like the other adjectives, adapt to their corresponding noun in case, gender, number and status.

Example: This is a German policewoman. هذه شرطية ألمانية


Nisba can also occur in modified forms, such as in the plural or with the definite article -ال. The plural of Nisba adjectives carries the same ending as the plural normal adjectives. Subject plural, person plural, regular and irregular plurals must be observed.

Nisba können auch in abgewandelter Form vorkommen, wie etwa im Plural oder mit dem bestimmten Artike -ال. Der Plural von Nisba-Adjektiven trägt dieselbe Endung wie der Plural der normalen Adjektive. Sachplural, Personenplural, regelmäßige und unregelmäßige Plurale gelten zu beachten.

Beispiel: These policewoman are German. هذه الشرطيات ألمانيات

The alternative to the Nisba

As an alternative to the Nisba form, the preposition من can also be used to express an affiliation or origin. For example, if you want to make your text varied, you can also switch to the wording with من.

That was The Nisba form in Arabic. If you enjoyed the article, then please feel free to read the article on credit in Arabic here as well.

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