We all have been in a rush and run into someone by mistake, stepped on people on the train, or made a simple mistake that requires us to apologise. Do you want a new word to use in those situations besides the same old “sorry”? Maaf is that word.

According to the Dictionary of Loanwords in the Cape Muslim Vernacular, written by Mogamat Alexander maaf means: excuse me, pardon, forgive me, or I’m sorry.

And when someone says maaf to you, you can respond by saying, “Allah maaf,” which means Allah forgives.

Saying sorry (or maaf!) really does smooth over many sticky little social situations and is magically effective in stopping them from becoming bigger ones.

Tell us: How has saying “maaf”, or sorry, helped you out of an awkward situation?