Philippines, Filipino
Hello, I read this phrase in a French textbook: je fais du shopping dans un souk. She's talking about her vacation in Egypt and says that she goes shopping in a souk. Can someone please tell me what souk means? Would it be correct to say it's a market?

Thank you.
  • cherine

    Arabic (Egypt).
    Yes, a souk is a big market.
    Le Petite Larousse gives this definition:
    souk n.m. (de l'ar.) 1. Marché couvert, dans les pays arabes.

    So this is the French meaning. As for the Arabic usage of the work souk/souq سوق it's almost the same, except for the "covered" part: not all souks are covered. And it's not only used in Egypt, but -to my knowledge- in all the Arab countries.

    P.S. Also check Word Reference definition of the word souk (this word is used in both English and French).


    Philippines, Filipino
    Thank you very much! I didn't think of checking in English or French because I thought it was used only in Egypt.

    Thanks again to you both.


    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    I don't speak French (unfortunately) but I just wanted to add that in Arabic souk is not only the physical market, it is market in general (which includes phrases such as financial market, marketing strategy...etc.). In English though it means only the physical Arab traditional market, or a single stall in such a market (whic is not souk in Arabic, by the way); my guess is this is also what it means in French.

    It's the same word in Classical Arabic, MSA and most (if not all) collequal dialects.
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