Somali Relative Vocabulary


Welcome to another Somali Learn lesson. Today we are going to talk about Family member vocabulary. The list below has the basic family relationships and how you can use the Somali Relative Vocabulary

Family Reer or Ehel Example       
Parent/Parents Waalid/ Waalidiin Be kind to your parents.

U naxariiso waalidiintaada

Wife Xaas My wife is beautiful.

Xaaskayga way qurxoon tahay

Husband Sey or nin Her husband is on vacation

Ninkeeda fasax ayuu ku jiraa

Mother Hooyo I love my mother.

Waan jeclahay hooyaday

Father Aabe Did your father work for the army?

Aabahaa ciidanka ma u shaqeeyay

Grandmother Ayeeyo My sweet grandmother raised me.

Ayeeyaday macaan baa isoo korisay

Great Grandmother Abooto I haven’t seen my Great Grandmother.

Abootaday ma arkin

Great Grandfather Abkoow I haven’t seen my Great Grandmother.

Abkoowgay ma arkin

Son Will (Wiil is a boy) My Son is graduating.

Wiilkayga ayaa qalinjabinaya

Daughter Gabar Also


My daughter is getting married.

Gabadhayda ayaa la guursanayaa.

Brother Aboowe or Walaal Her brother is a teacher.

Walaalkeed waa macalin

Sister Abaayo or Walaal My sister works for the president.

Walaashay waxay u shaqaysaa Madaxwaynaha

Niece Gabadh aan habaryar u ahay (Sister’s daughter)

Gabadh aan eedo u ahay

(Brothers’s daughter)

My sister is working today, so I have to babysit my niece.

Walaashay way shaqaynaysaa maanta, marka waa in aan hayo  gabadha aan habaryar u ahay


Nephew Wiil Walaalkaa/Walaasha Dhashay/Wiilka aan habaryarta/eedada u ahay My nephew loves me. (sister’s son)

Wiilka walaashay wuu I jecel yahay


Aunt (mom sister) Habaryar I have nine aunts.

Waxaan leeyahay saqaal habaryar(o)

Aunt (dad sister) Eeddo His aunt is a lawyer.

Eeddodiis wa qareen

Uncle (mom brother) Abti My mom’s uncle lives here.

Hooyaday Abtigeed baa halkan dagan

Uncle (dad brother) Adeer Uncle Abdi.

Adeer Abdi

Brother-in-law(of women) Dumaashi My brother-in-law is a police.

Dumaashigay waa askari.

Brother-in-law(of men) Seedi My brother and his brother-in-law.

Walaalkay iyo seedigiis

Mother-in-law Soddoh My mother-in-law is rich.

Soddohday waa taajirad

Father-in-Law Soddog My father is law is coming.

Soddogay baa imaanaya.

Relative/Kin Qaraabo/Ehel You have to communicate with you relatives.

Waa in aad la xiriirtaa qaraabodaada.

Somali Relative Vocabulary

Before we finish the lesson I want make a quick explanation of some things that I thought might create confusion for some Somali Language learners.

  • When the Somali words in the second column are used in sentences, the spelling changes because, for example:
  •  (Aabe/Father) and( Aabehay/My father) or (Aabahaa/Your father)
  • In Somali, hooyo means mother and aabe means father, so in English when you are calling your mother you call her mother or mom and your father you call him father or dad right? Well, Hooyo/Aabe can be used by both the parent and the child in the Somali language. Look at this example a mother asking her child son to come: (Kaalay hooyo – Came here mother). The son can use the same sentence to call him mom (Kaalay hooyo Came here mother). So the bottom-line is that if your mother calls you hooyo it means she is your hooyo and you are the child, and when you call your mother hooyo it means she is your hooyo and the same rule goes for your dad, Uncle, aunt, and the grandparents.
  • Niece/Nephew – Those two relatives do not have specific terms except explaining their relationship in two different ways.
    • A- You can say my sister’s daughter/Son or my brother’s daughter/son. (Walaashay gabadheeda/wiilkeeda ) Or (Walaakay gabadhiisa/wiilkiisa )
    • B- The second explanation has the same rule as hooyo/aabo above (a girl I am an aunt to) or above (a boy I am an aunt to) Explaining what you are to them.


  • Waalid means a parent and it is used in two ways. Your mother and father are your parents, and also your aunts, uncles, grandparent’s your mom’s and dad’s cousins. Sometimes you will see people say “Waarid” when referring to waalid.

This list of Somali Relative Vocabulary will give you basic knowledge of how family relationships are used in the Somali language

A good place to start Somali Alphabets

If you see any errors or typos, or If you have any questions please contact us


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *