affluent Having an abundance of wealth.
aficionados Ardent fans; enthusiasts.
agha Mister; great lord.
ahesta boro Wedding song.
ahmaq Fool, idiot.
Al hamdullellah Thanks to God.
alaykum Upon you; usually found with a word preceding it, as in "peace be upon you."
Alef-beh The letters A and B, used to signify the entire alphabet.
attan A tribal dance performed on festive occasions.
aush Soup with noodles, meat, vegetables, tomato broth, and yogurt, usually served with mint as a garnish.
awroussi The wedding ceremony.
ayat Sign or miracle, usually referring to verses of the Koran.
Ayat-ul-kursi A long verse of the Koran.
azan The call to prayer that occurs five times daily.
bachem My child.
bakhshida Pardoned by God.
bia To lead along.
biryani Rice dish made with meat, vegetables, and yogurt.
Bismillah An exclamation meaning "In the name of God!"
biwa A widow.
boboresh "Cut him."
bolani Flatbread stuffed with potatoes or leeks.
burqa Women's outer garment that fully covers them.
Buzkashi A National game of Afghanistan played on horseback and involving a calf's carcass as the object of competition.
caracul A specific type of sheep.
carcinoma A malignant tumor that spreads by metastasis; cancer.
cardamom The aromatic seeds of an Asian plant in the ginger family.
Chaman A town in Afghanistan.
chapan Traditional, long coat worn by Afghani men.
chapandaz A master horseman of the Buzkashi competition.
chatty Part-time; not real.
chilas Wedding bands.
chopan kabob Pieces of marinated lamb placed on a skewer and broiled.
chuff A boor; a churl.
cleft lip Another name for a harelip.
congenital Pertaining to a condition present at birth.
cretin A stupid or mentally defective person.
dil The heart.
dil-roba Very beautiful.
dostet darum I love you.
Eid of Qorban Animal sacrifice ceremony that commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son.
Farsi Modern Iranian language of Iran and western Afghanistan.
Feridoun Legendary shah.
ferni Rice pudding.
Genghis Khan The founder of the Mongols and ruler of the largest contiguous empire in history.
Ghamkhori Self-indulgent attitude about one's own difficulties.
ghazal Lyrical poems.
Hadj A pilgrimage to Mecca.
Hafez Persian mystic and poet of the 1300s.
harelip A congenitally deformed lip, usually the upper one, in which there is a vertical fissure causing it to resemble the cleft lip of a hare.
Hazara An ethnic group from the Hazarajat region in central Afghanistan.
Henry Kissinger German-born American diplomat who served as Richard Nixon's Secretary of State.
Ian Fleming British author who created the character of James Bond.
Inshallah "God willing."
isfand A wild plant burnt for its aroma and allegedly to ward off misfortune.
jai-namaz Prayer rug.
Jalalabad City in eastern Afghanistan serving as the social and business center of the Nangahar Province.
jan A word of endearment.
Jules Verne French author who was a pioneer in science fiction; best known for Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
Kabul Capital and largest city of Afghanistan.
Kandahar Second-largest city in Afghanistan, located in the southern part of the country.
khala Aunt on the mother's side of the family.
khan Title of tribal chief; now used like "mister" when placed after someone's name.
khanum Lady; Mrs.
khasta Wounded; weary; infirm.
khastegari A suitor's official visitation to the family to propose marriage.
Khayyam Persian poet, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher.
kho dega So.
khoda hafez Goodbye.
Khyber Pass The mountain pass that links Afghanistan with Pakistan.
Kochen-morgha Chicken bazaar.
Kochi A nomad.
kolcha A kind of bread.
Koran The central religious text of Islam.
Kunduz City in northern Afghanistan.
kunnis Vulgar term for homosexuals.
kursi A heater under a low table, usually covered with a quilt.
laaf Boasting, bragging.
lafz Ceremony of betrothal.
lochak Small scarf.
loya jirga Great council.
mantu Sheep's stomach stuffed with rice.
mard Hero; brave.
Mark Twain American writer known for his humor and for creating the characters of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
Mashallah "Praise God."
Masnawi Six-volume mystical poem by the poet Rumi.
metastasized To have spread to other parts of the body through blood or lymph vessels.
mojarad Single young man.
moochi Shoe repairman.
Mujahedin Generally, a Muslim involved in a jihad; specifically, in the late 1970s, when various Afghan opposition groups fought against the Soviet-led government, but also against each other in the late 1980s, after the Soviet Union pulled out of the conflict in Afghanistan.
Mullah Nasruddin Legendary philosopher from the Middle Ages whose wisdom was revealed through a childlike simplicity; Nasruddin has often become the figure of jokes and anecdotes.
mullah Title of respect for a person learned in sacred law.
naan Bread or a light round cake.
nah-kam Doomed to wallow in failure.
namaz Prayers, specifically those required by sacred law to be repeated five times daily.
namoos Reputation; pride.
naswar Smokeless chewing tobacco.
nazar Looking at.
nazr Vow to give the meat of a slaughtered sheep to the poor.
nemesis An opponent or rival who cannot be overcome.
nihari Curry stew made with lamb or beef.
nika The swearing ceremony of a wedding.
obstinate Stubbornly adhering to one's opinion.
Paghman City near Kabul.
pakol Round-topped men's hat.
pakora Snack made of deep-fried items, often chicken, onion, or potato.
palliative To mitigate pain; serving to lessen without curing, as in a treatment for cancer that makes the patient comfortable but does not cure the disease.
Parchami Member of the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan.
Pashtuns Ethnic Afghans.
Peshawar Capital of the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan.
pirhan-tumban Dress and pants.
qabuli Rice dish with meat, carrots, and raisins.
qaom Family member.
qawali Devotional music.
Qiyamat Judgment Day.
quwat Forces; powers.
raka't Sections of prayer.
rowt Type of sweet.
rubab A four-stringed instrument similar to a short-necked guitar but made of parchment, not wood.
Rudabeh In Persian mythology, the princess of Kabul who gives birth to Rostam, a boy who grows up to be one of the greatest Persian heroes.
rupia Silver coin.
Saadi Medieval Persian poet.
sabzi challow White rice with lamb and spinach.
sahib Courtesy title equivalent to "sir."
salaam alaykum Hello to you.
samosa Small, triangular pastry stuffed with minced meat.
saughat A magnificent present.
Shah King or sovereign.
shalwar-kameez Pants and dress.
sherjangi Battle of the poems.
Shi'a Muslim A Muslim of the second-largest denomination of Islam; they constitute a minority in the Muslim world but are the majority population in some Middle Eastern countries, including Iran and Iraq.
Shirini-khori The "Eating of the Sweets" ceremony; engagement party.
sholeh-goshti A kind of food.
Shorawi The former USSR.
spasseba Russian for "thank you."
Sunni Muslim A Muslim of the largest denomination of Islam.
tandoor Traditional oven for bread making.
tar A glass coated cutting line on a kite.
tashakor Thank you.
toophan agha Mr. Hurricane.
Victor Hugo French writer who championed the French Romantic movement; although known outside of France for his novels Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hugo is often considered the foremost French poet.
wah wah Bravo.
watan Native country.
yelda First night of winter, the longest night of the year.
Zahir Shah The last king of Afghanistan.
Zakat Alms given according to sacred law; a way to secure blessings for the rest of one's possessions.
Zal Legendary Persian warrior.
zendagi migzara "Life goes on."