Well, after moving to the Middle East, many quickly learned that some innocuous words in English can offend Arabs - like crazy. This is important, especially if you're coming to the work force here (or just joined it). Try your best to remove the following words from your vocabulary and be careful of how you use them (all depends on context of course).
- 1. DOG - This is an extremely offensive word to use in regards to people. Even if you say "I/he/she works like a dog", it's still an insult. Yes, even in regards to yourself. Unless you're talking about a personal pet, just avoid referring to people as K-9s.
- 2. GARBAGE - Another extremely sensitive word that is offensive. Stay away from saying "It smells/tastes/looks/etc.... like garbage". The term is quite a strong word to use. If you're going to use it, make sure you're ready to stand by your words.
- 3. Screw it - Doesn't matter how friendly and social you are with people, this has a very serious meaning. In English, it's casually used as a "forget it" statement.
- 4. Avoid all talk of your rear - Avoid this with your life. You'll realize how often English speakers make that reference when you actually stop and think about it, even with an inane statement such as"work your butt off" can be found extremely offensive. Be especially careful if the person is an Arab of the opposite gender - OMG!
- 5. CRAZY - Don't call anyone crazy, regardless of context. It's insulting to Arabs Even jokingly saying "you're crazy!" will end in a fist fight.. just kidding (I hope!).
- 6. Your Wife - If you're a man, never let these words out of your mouth while speaking to an Arab man. Even when trying to be polite, it's best to ask how the family is doing rather than the wife specficially (if you're a man).
- There are SOOOOO many more words I would like to include, but after living here... they just seems too inappropriate to type out; yet, they are not inappropriate at all... Feel free to add them in the comments section for me ;)