In the English language, we have numerous different means to say words “no.”

In life, we’ll concerned hear and also use that two-letter indigenous a lot.

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And most of the time, it gets tossed about without ever before thinking much of it.

Yet together a little thing actually means a totality lot when in a different country. The can even sometimes obtain you right into a pickle.

Take Mr. Bean because that example. In the 2007 film “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” the title character, Mr. Bean, wins a vacation in France. Yay!

He it s okay himself into all kinds of unwanted scenarios because he’s only able come muster words “oui” (yes) because that the bulk of his time in Paris. He it s okay lost, the accepts undesirable invitations and also struggles—hilariously, of course.

His troubles only go away as soon as he finally picks up “non” (no) and what he thought to it is in “thank” friend in French (it wasn’t).

Don’t be choose Mr. Bean.

Whether you require a few additional native for your travels or you similar to telling people “no” in as countless ways as possible (which can be fun!), this tiny word package a most usefulness.

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Why find out to to speak “No” in various Languages?

When us travel, we tend to choose up a few key paragraph such as “hello,” “please” and “thank you.” This is good for gift polite, but there are an ext useful take trip phrases to add to her toolbox prior to you head to a brand-new country.

It’s all too common to go through some cultural mishaps due to the fact that of not understanding a straightforward word or a seemingly normal gesture. Require a little an ext convincing over together a tiny word? below are some clever reasons you should learn how to speak “no” in a different language.

Avoid culture Shock: periodically our body claims no before our mouth does. For North Americans and various countries, a head shower from side to side way no. Occasionally a groan of an “mm-mm” will additionally be our method to to speak no. However, no all nations will understand these social versions that “no.”Speak in the regional Language: “No” is simple to acquire away v in Romance-based languages, as the word “no” sounds comparable (or also identical) in plenty of of these languages. Maybe the interval ranges, yet a French or also a Portuguese version of “no” sounds comparable to ours. Heck, the Spanish and Italian no is the same! However, countless other nations have a really different word and may not recognize your do the efforts at negating their sell if you speak English to them.


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Cultural aspects of speak “No” approximately the World

If girlfriend think a straightforward headshake will certainly work approximately the globe, think again.

As pointed out above, the way we might shake our head left to appropriate doesn’t mean “no” come everyone around the world. In fact, periodically a side-to-side head gesture have the right to be “yes!”

The 6 countries provided below have interesting (and sometimes confusing) means to say “no.” This is just a tiny sampling that the assorted nonverbal and culturally-defined ways of saying “no.” This is why you’ll want to make sure you look at into cultural etiquette prior to you take trip to a various country.

Good luck!


To gesture “no,” the Greeks raise your eyebrows and also their whole head upwards. To add insult come injury, words “yes” in Greek is “naí,” which ring of the English “no.”

So, if you’re heading to greek for vacation time, be sure to learn (and probably practice) the Greek ways to to speak no.

Southern Italy

The word because that “no” in Italian is “no.” Sound similar?

But there’s a catch. The southern component of the country gestures v a rapid upward nod, very similar to the Greeks. This more than likely stems native the colonization and heavy Greek influence in that area.


To gesture, the Turks toss their heads earlier and cluck. For this reason be sure to gain the head gestures ~ above straight prior to heading come Turkey!

You may additionally be interested in discovering that the Turks don’t regularly use the straight “no” in many cases, but will to speak “yok” to mean “there isn’t/there aren’t.”


Unfortunately, there’s no precise equivalent of words “no” in Mandarin Chinese which is why it’s vital you examine up a bit! In Mandarin Chinese, every form of “no” is followed by a little phrase as to what you’re negating, denying, or refusing.

The Mandarin phrase for “No, i can’t” (不可以, pronounced bù kě yǐ) will probably be most helpful for travelers, however it’s never ever a bad idea to study different ways of saying “no” in Chinese.


Bulgarians have actually a sharp upward jerk that the head come say “no” through a nod. Sometimes it’s add by a quiet “tut” of the lips.


Much favor the Chinese, the Japanese have numerous ways come say “no” to a person. And also since the Japanese language is maybe based approximately politeness, you don’t want to to speak the dorn thing.

いいえ is the most-understood way of saying “no” but it’ll come turn off as really blunt and also even rude. If you’re walk to invest a the majority of time in Japan, it’s finest to learn a few different means to politely speak “no” in Japanese.

How come Say “No” in 52 different Languages: A “No”-fuss Guide

Why not discover this very small but very important word and make life much easier for yourself? Here’s a list of the word “no” in 52 various languages to assist you on your journey.

AfrikaansNee (nee-yuh)

Arabic — لا (la)

Armenian — ոչ (votsh)


Bengali — না (Na)


Bulgarian — не (ney)

Burmese — မဟုတ်ဘူး (mahotebhuu)

Cantonese — 唔啱 (mh’āam)

Note: Cantonese, like Mandarin Chinese, doesn’t have actually a word for “no.” You deserve to study a few different Cantonese paragraph or shot the word above which translates to “wrong.”







Note: The French love English speaker with great pronunciation skills. Do you challenge to discover French sound to get this one right?

Gaelic (Irish) — There’s no word for “no” in the ireland language. You’d need to communicate the indigenous in verb form, however luckily this nation of English speaker will understand your English “no” or side-to-side head nod.

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Georgian — არა (Ara)


Greek — όχι (o-chi)


Hebrew — לא (lo)

Hindi — नहीं (Nahin)






Japanese — いいえ (i-ie)

Korean — 아니요 (a-ni-yo)

Note: Politeness is important in Korea. Due to the fact that of this, you might want to find out the various ways of speak “no” to different civilization (based ~ above their age in relation to yours) and also in different situations.




Mandarin Chinese (Simplified) — 没有 (Méiyǒu)

Nahuatl (Aztec)Ahmo


Nepali — होईन (Hoina)


Persian — نه (na)



QuechuaMana (mah-na)

Russian — нет (nyet)







Ukranian — ні (ni)




Wherever you room in the world, finding out to to speak “no” is, well, no problem!

And also if friend don’t have any trips planned, isn’t it exceptional to view how plenty of different methods there space to speak this one tiny word?

Happy learning!

Download: This blog article is accessible as a convenient and also portable PDF the youcan take anywhere. Click below to obtain a copy. (Download)