Palestinian Arabic: بس يا زلمة


Senior Member
Italian (North)
I read about a group of Palestinian comedians whose name is “bas ya zalame”. I found here on WR that زلمة means man. Can one use this word in everyday life, outside the context of comedy? What does “bas” mean? What would be the equivalent in MSA?
  • normordm

    Senior Member
    Arabic - Sudanese
    بس means "that's enough". Yes زلمة is used very often in everyday life by people in the shami region.
    The MSA equivalent of بس would be كَفى.


    Senior Member
    Italian (North)
    Thanks! What about زلمة? Is it also used in everyday? What would be the plural?


    Senior Member
    Italian (North)
    شكرًا جزيلا
    Thank you for your help, meanwhile I looked up once again the search engine of World Reference. One of the moderators (who’s Palestinian) gave some years ago this plural. Maybe there are different ways according to the region
    Singular: زلمة (zalame)
    Plural: زلام (zlaam)
    Last edited:


    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In Palestinian Arabic, زلمة (zalame) is the default word for "man" in the vast majority of contexts. The plural is زلام (zlām). The word زُلُم (zulom) is used, but much less commonly and only in certain circumstances/contexts.

    بس has many meanings ("but," "only," "stop it," "enough," "that's it," "when").

    بس يا زلمة literally means "stop it, man" (it can be friendly or sharp, depending on the tone of voice). It's also used as an idiomatic expression, meaning (something like) "forget it, man" or "get out of here, man."


    <A has been playing loud music all day>
    B: بس يا زلمة، دورتنا من الصبح ("stop it")

    <A is trying to convince B, a 40-year-old man, to get on a swing>
    B: بس يا زلمة، شايفني ولد صغير؟ ("forget it")

    <A suggests that the new president, unlike his predecessor, will help poor people a lot>
    B: بس يا زلمة، كل السياسيين زي بعض، ولا واحد منهم بهتم بالشعب ("forget it / get out of here")
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