Stranger or not, you’re still my habibi

Across Cultures

Habibi is a typical Lebanese word. Yes, it is an Arabic word. But, the Lebanese have used it (and even abused it) to the extent that it can be safely referred to as Lebanese. The literal translation of ‘habibi’ is “my love” or “my darling”.

Knowing this fact, you would hear the word habibi all throughout your day in Beirut. Don’t be fooled, though, the Lebanese population is not a group of reincarnated Shakespeare’s. This word has almost become a reflex or an automated add-on in conversations. Whenever a man wants to ask a stranger for a favor, he’d say, “habibi could you please pass me the…?”  Maybe it’s a polite way of addressing a stranger. That could be it. But, habibi has infiltrated all levels of dialogue. Even between friends, habibi is used. It is used when sarcastic, when being polite, when being nice, etc. It has become a passepartout…

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