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|English to Arabic translations [Non-PRO]|
|English term or phrase: coffee|
|as a beverage|
QAHWA is the modern standard Arabic term for coffee.
Pronunciation varies regionally, with differences mostly affecting the first consonant and the last vowel. In some regions, the medial vowel is placed after the H rather than before it. In “Mulook Al-Arab,” Hafiz Wahbah reports that when the late King Abdulazeez wanted to treat his guests to coffee, he would call out, “Qhow!”
According to Al-Munjid, QAHWA originally meant, “liquor.” Tentative explanations are given for that, but such explanations are to be taken with a grain of salt.
QAHWA is also used in many regions to mean a café (a coffeehouse). Although MAQHA is used in writing, it has never gained currency in the spoken vernacular.
BUNN is the older name for coffee. It is still used in many regions, especially in reference to the coffee plant, the coffee beans, and their dry derivatives. When I was a kid (and that was a very long time ago), we had to say, “QAHWAT BUNN,” to be clear and distinct. Otherwise, QAHWA by itself would be understood generically as any of several hot drinks, my favorite being QAHWAT ZA'FARAN (a hot saffron beverage).
In some Arab regions, coffee with cream, being a foreign novelty, is called KAFEE.
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