“Father of Moustache”

ابو شنب

abu shanab

This literally means ‘father of moustache’ but in reality is just a convenient way to point out an unknown man with enviable facial hair, aka ‘that guy with the moustache’ in English. If you’re referring to a guy walking down the street wearing a red shirt, for example, he may similarly become “abu a7mar,” and sometimes the phrase has a comical, “I’m kind of making fun of this person but not really,” type of feeling.

One of Egypt's more notorious moustaches, owned by Judge Nagy Shehata.

One of Egypt’s more notorious moustaches, which happens to be owned by Judge Nagy Shehata.


For demonstrative purposes, let’s assume that one particular father of moustache is being a douche and blocking the street or something. You could say ابو شنب دا وقف الدنيا كلها which literally means “this father of moustache stopped the whole world!!!” –this is obviously a little dramatic and could be translated more accurately as “moustache guy is blocking everything.” Definitely know that this phrase doesn’t come up all that often, but I found it amusing, and it also provided a convenient excuse to post pictures of Nagy Shehata’s stash on the Internet.

Hey don't have any nightmares llater or anything.

Hey don’t have any nightmares later or anything.


  1. But Abu is used often as an attributive analogous to the MSA ذو . Nagy Shehata could, indeed, be called Abu Naddara. There was a satirical magazine published between 1876 and 1910 by Yaqub Sannua called by that very name: Abu Naddara Zarqa’, or ‘The fellow with the blue glasses” Sannua was exiled because of its satirical tone but continued publishing from Paris, smuggling the paper into Egypt. When I lived in Sayyeda Zeinab, I was often referred to as Abu Da’n, ‘The guy with a beard’ And sometimes as ‘Abu Suleiman’ a nickname for David. Obviously not meaning ‘the father of Suleiman’ because David was Soliman’s son, not the other way round.

  2. My mistake, Solomon was David’s son. In any case, someone named Suleiman is nicknamed Abou Daoud. The same principle applies.

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