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Arabic Word of the Day: رَأْس

Arabic Word of the Day رَأس /Raʼs/

Arabic Word of the Day

Hello and Welcome to another Arabic word in our Arabic Word of the Day series, where we learn about the meanings of keywords in Arabic and their usage in the Arabic language.

Today’s word is رَأس /Raʼs/ which essentially means “Head” in English or the upper part of the human body. In this blog, we will look at the main uses of this word, its root, word collocations, synonyms, and antonyms. You will also be given examples of each different use. At the end of the blog, you will be well-equipped to use the word in different situations and contexts.

A. Main Meaning

The word رَأس /Raʼs/ has many uses, all of which refer to “the beginning” or “the foundation” of something.

For example, we say:

1. رَأسُ الإِنسانِ

/Raʼsu alʼinsāni/  (The human head)

The word here refers to the upper part of the body.

Example 1

يَشعُرُ جَمالٌ بألَمٍ في رأسهِ

/Yashʻuru jamālun bʼlamin fī rʼsihi/. (Jamal has a headache).

Example 2

تَدُورُ في رأسي فِكرةٌ رائِعة

/Tadūru fī raʼsī fikrtun rāʼiʻh/ (I have a great idea in my head).

 Example 3

(وأَخَذَ بِرأسِ أَخيهِ) الأعراف: 150

/Wʼakhadha birʼsi akhyhi/

 This example is a verse from the Holy Quran and its English translation reads as follows: “and he seized his brother by (the hair of) his head” – AlA’raf:150. It refers to when Moses returned angry to his people and grabbed his brother Haron by his head.


2. رأسُ الطَّريقِ

/Raʼs alṭaaryqi/

The word رأس in this expression means the “head of the road” i.e. its starting point.


طُولُ الشَّارِعِ مِن رأسِهِ لِنهايَتِهِ ثَلاثَةُ كِيلو مترات

/Ṭūlu alshaaāriʻi min rʼsihi linhāyatihi thalāthatu kīlw mitr/

 (The length of the street from its head to its end is three kilometers.

3. رَأسُ السّنة

/Raʼsu aālssnh/  (The New Year, Head of the year, or the first day of the year).  


يَحتِفلُ النَّاسُ فِي لَيلَةِ رَأسِ السَّنةِ

/Yaḥtiflu alnaaāsu fī laylati raʼsi alsaanti/ (People celebrate on New Year’s Eve).

4. رَأسُ المالِ

/Raʼsu almāli/ (Capital)

 This expression refers to capital or the financial asset with which we start a business.


رَأسُ مالِ هَذا العَمَلِ مِئةُ ألفِ دولارٍ

/Raʼsu māli hadhā alʻamali miʼtu alfi dwlārin/

(The capital of this business is one hundred thousand dollars).

5. رأسُ العَينِ

/Rʼsu alʻayni/ (Fountain head)

This Arabic phrase refers to the head of the spring, or the source from which it springs.


شَرِبَ مِن رَأسِ العَينِ

/Shariba min raʼsi alʻayni/

(He drank from the head of the spring.) 

B. Word Collocation

The word رأس /Raʼs/ collocates with other vocabulary to give structures that have specific meanings, such as:

مَسقَطُ الرأسِ

/Masqaṭu alrʼsi/ (Birthplace: the place of birth)


رَجَعَ العالِمُ أَحمَد زويل إلى مَسقطِ رأسِهِ

/Rajaʻa alʻālimu aḥmad Zuwayl ilá masqṭi rʼsihi/

(The scientist Ahmed Zewail returned to his hometown)

C. Word Root

The root of the word رأس /Raʼs/ is رئاسة /Riʼasa/ and one of the words derived from this root is the word 

رَئيس /Raʼys/ which means president. He is the leader; the president of the country is its leader.


جو بايدن رَئيسُ الولاياتِ المُتّحِدةِ الأَمريكيّة

/Jū Bāydin raʼysu alwlāyāti almuttḥidti alʼamrykyyh/

(Joe Biden is the President of the United States of America.)

 D. Synonyms

The word /Raʼs/ has several synonyms in the Arabic language, such as

قِمّة /Qimmah/ (Summit)

بِداية /Bidāyh/ (Beginning)

أَوّل /Awwl/ (First)

 Example 1

So it is possible to use the two words to give the same meaning. Let’s check the following example:

It is possible to say

صَعَدَ المُغامِرُ إِلى رَأسِ الجَبَلِ

/Ṣaʻada almughāmiru ilá raʼsi aljabali/

(The adventurer went up to the head of the mountain).


صَعَدَ المُغامِرُ إِلى قِمَّةِ الجَبَلِ

/Ṣaʻada almughāmiru ilá qimaati aljabali/

(The adventurer went up to the summit of the mountain).

Example 2

We also say

بَدأَ السِّباقُ مِن رَأسِ المِضمار

/Badʼa alssibāqu min raʼsi almiḍmār/

(The race started from the top of the track).


بَدأَ السِّباقُ مِن بدايةِ المِضمار

/Badʼa alssibāqu min bdāyti almiḍmār/

(The race started from the beginning of the track).

Example 3

We can also say

بَدأَتُ العَمَلَ مِن رَأسِ الشَّهرِ

/Badʼatu alʻamala min raʼsi alshaahri/

(I started working from the head of the month).


بَدأَتُ العَمَلَ مِن أَوَّلِ الشَّهرِ

/Badʼatu alʻamala min awaali alshaahri/

(I started working from the beginning of the month).

E. Antonyms

Finally, any word that signifies the end and the bottom of something can be used to give the opposite meaning of the word رأس /Raʼs/ “head,” such as the words “end,” “bottom,” and “last.”

Example 1

نَزلَتُ الجَبَلَ مِن رأسِهِ إلى أَسفَلِهِ

/Nazlatu aljabala min rʼsihi ilá asfalihi/

(I descended the mountain from its head to its bottom).  

Example 2

سِر فِي هذا الشَّارِعِ مِن رأسِهِ إلى نِهايَتِهِ

/Sir fī Hādhā alshaaāriʻi min rʼsihi ilá nihāyatihi/

(Walk along this street from its head to its end).

 Example 3

عَمِلتُ فِي الشَّرِكَةِ مِن رأسِ السَّنةِ إلى نِهايَتِها

/ʻAmiltu fī alshaarikati min rʼsi alsaanti ilá nihāyatihā/

(I worked in the company from the beginning of the year to its end).


Finally, we hope you liked our new Arabic Word of the Day. Make sure you use it as much as possible in everyday situations. We have made sure in this blog to provide you with different ways to use the word as well as the word’s root, collocations, synonyms, and antonyms. In order to reach mastery in using the new words, remember to use them in their different forms in your daily conversations.

To get more practice, we have prepared a special Planner that you can use to speed up your learning journey. This planner offers a rich 30-page worksheet accompanied by over 200 practical exercises and activities. It will serve as a powerful tool to back your acquired knowledge and newly learned language and push your learning journey forward with tons of practice opportunities.

Best of luck and see you in another blog and more Arabic words!

Dania Ghraoui
Dania has worked as a language instructor and translator for almost 10 years. She has a special interest in the Arabic language and learning methods.
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