Persian household vocabulary gets very specific. I mean, there room 8 various ways to say “cousin.” I favor to think it’s since family is the backbone of Iranian society, and also Iranians are extremely family-oriented. Yet these very same words that suggest relationships extend past the boundaries of family and also relatives and are offered with girlfriend or even full strangers. So let’s perform a fast review of Persian family vocabulary, and also then acquire into their cultural uses.

Once you recognize the straightforward family members in Persian, learning the remainder is a breeze.

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The basics:

پدر Pedar (bâbâ): dad (dad)

مادر Mâdar (mâmân): mommy (mom)

پسر Pesar: son (also, boy)

دختر Dokhtar: daughter (also, girl)

خواهر Khâhar (âbji-informal): sister

برادر Barâdar (dâdâsh-informal): brother

شوهر Shohar: husband

زن Zan: wife

خاله Khâleh: aunt

دایی Dâei: uncle

عمو Amoo: uncle

عمه Ameh: aunt

Now that you know those, girlfriend can number out the 8 ways to speak “cousin”:

Dokhtar khâleh: (daughter that maternal aunt) cousin

Pesar khâleh: (son of maternal aunt) cousin

Dokhtar dâei: (daughter of maternal uncle) cousin

Pesar dâei: (son that maternal uncle) cousin

Dokhtar ameh: (daughter of head aunt) cousin

Pesar ameh: (son of paternal aunt) cousin

Dokhtar amoo: (daughter of head uncle) cousin

Pesar amoo: (son of paternal uncle) cousin


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Photo through Steven Su on Unsplash


Cultural Uses

Khâleh vs Ameh

When it pertains to aunts, khâleh (maternal aunts) are much more beloved 보다 ameh (paternal aunts). Khâleh doesn’t have to be her actual aunt, though. A close household friend can likewise be referred to as a khâleh. Like I would call my mom’s finest friend Khâleh Susan. Also, small kids in Iran call women castle aren’t pertained to khâleh. Because that instance, my doorman’s child who is about 8 phone call me khâleh. Once he wanted assist with his English alphabet flashcards and asked, “Hey khâleh, might you create down the Persian indistinguishable of the English letter for me?” it reminded me the the elementary school children in Chile who referred to as me tía.

In Persian, when someone feeling a small too welcome in a location (where they most likely shouldn’t), we compare it to khuneh-ye khâleh (maternal aunt’s house). Because that example, if you walk to someone’s residence for the an initial time and also start rummaging approximately in your fridge, they can say (or think), “Mage khune-ye khâlate?” (Where carry out you think this is- your aunt’s house?) Or “Engâr khune-ye khâlashe!” (It’s as if the thinks he’s at his maternal aunt’s house!) due to the fact that everyone loves their khâleh. Girlfriend are enabled to feeling comfortable and at home at your khâleh’s.

Ameh, on the various other hand, does not possess together a high status among the relatives. Once my nephew was born, ns dreaded being dubbed ameh. “Can the just contact me khâleh instead?” ns asked mine brother. Luckily, that situation was evaded by utilizing the an ext neutral English “auntie.” Why go I have actually such a trouble with ameh? friend know exactly how English has ‘yo momma’ jokes? Well, those type of jokes in Persian are reserved for the ameh. If who insults you, you could shoot ago ammat (your aunt). It is the simplest instance I can give you. The ameh jokes can obtain pretty vulgar. Ns really watch no should go there in detail.

Amoo vs Daei

When it pertains to uncles, amoo are an ext beloved than daei . Similar to khâleh, youngsters call close family friends amoo. (And remember, in maintaining with the Persian quirks, the amoo will additionally call the children amoo to indicate endearment- very same with khâleh.) man friends even speak to each various other amoo (sometimes dâei) to median something along the lines of “dude”.

And Tehran has no shortage the eateries with amoo in the name. Yes sir Amoo Yahya (famous for its omelet and dizi), Amoo Sohrab (which serves timeless Iranian dishes), and everyone’s favorite, Amoo Hooshang. (I wrote about Amoo Hooshang’s dive critical year for Roads and Kingdoms. Ns was actually sort of proud of the article, so if you haven’t read it, I’m offering you permission come leave and do so- however please come back.)

For as lot attention as amoo gets, daei go not. It’s type of neutral- not good or bad. Just there, frequently forgotten… like the middle child. 

Pedar vs Mâdar

Young civilization might call an elderly person pedar (father) or mâdar (mother) together a authorize of respect. Yes sir a yes, really old male I periodically see walking under the street delivering his groceries. That walks really slowly and also often stop to take it breaks. When I stopped and also asked, “Salaam pedar (Hi, father). Have the right to I help you?” that course, there have to be a big age difference with the person you say this to. Friend don’t desire to awkward yourself prefer the man who dubbed my cousin mâdar just to discover out she was around 30 year younger 보다 him.

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Dokhtar vs Pesar

Elderly world will call younger human being dokhtaram/pesaram (my daughter/my son). Over there is one elderly taxi driver who constantly calls me (and various other passengers) dokhtaram. And also in a video I had posted on Instagram from mine road pilgrimage to Ardabil, the lady is do bread, and also at the end, she hands it come the young guy and also says, “Befarmâid, pesaram,” (Here friend go, my son).