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How to say ‘friend’ around the world

If you’ve ever travelled to a country in which you don’t speak the language, you’re probably aware that there are always a few key vocabulary words and phrases travel guides recommend you stock up on. I don’t speak [insert language]… Where is the restroom?… Help… Thank you. We would offer an additional word to learn—one that carries a cultural capital large enough to warrant knowing its translation in every language: friend.

Dating as far back as Old English friend is part of the inherited vocabulary of Germanic and has been in use ever since the Anglo-Saxons arrived in England. In the spirit of global camaraderie, and to celebrate the international days of friendship, we invite you to explore how people all over the world refer to those with whom they share a mutual like.

Click on the image below to explore the different words for ‘friend’ around the world.

friend map_small

Country Language Translation Romanization
Albania Albanian mik
Bangladesh Bengali বন্ধু bandhu
Brazil Portuguese amigo
Croatia Croatian prijatelj
Denmark Danish ven
Egypt Arabic


Finland Finnish ystävä
Georgia Georgian მეგობარი megobari
Greece Greek φίλος fílos
Greenland Greenlandic ikinngut
Haiti Hatian Creole zanmi
Hungary Hungarian barát
Iran Persian


Ireland Irish cara
Israel Hebrew


Kenya Swahili rafiki
Korea Korean 친구 chingu
Malta Maltese ħabib
Mexico (Central) Nahuatl ikniutli
Mongolia Mongolian нөхөр nöhör
Nigeria Yoruba ore
Philippines Tagalog kaibígan
South Africa Afrikaans vriend
Spain Catalan amic
Sri Lanka Tamil நண்பர் naṇapara
United States (Alaska) Aleut agiitaadax
United States (Hawaii) Hawaiian hoaloha

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