“Your heart is white” – Arabic Saying


She said that her mom would always say this to her. They were both still in Jordan when she first heard it. According to her, you would say this “when somebody is hoping for something that you know won’t happen,” or “when somebody is hoping for somebody else to do something, but you know they won’t do it.”


Original Script: قلبك ابيض

Transliteration: Albak abyad

Translation: Your heart is white


When I first heard this saying, I thought that it meant that someone was acting naïve. I clearly remember when I asked my family if there was any dessert left from the day before, only to be told “Albak abyad”; I was naïve to assume that they had not eaten it all. Even after I heard my informant’s explanation, I find it interesting how the saying associates the color white with naïveté instead of purity (the usual association). It shows that innocence to a fault (naïveté) is seen as a problem in Arabic cultures, encouraging those who hear the saying to not be overly hopeful.