From tribune.com:

We will prevent Saudi help in the building or financing of mosques in Germany where Wahhabi ideas are to be disseminated,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

I know we can use noun as adjective whenever we want, for example "boy-style", so is "Saudi" an adjective describing "help" here? But this is a bit strange to me, is this common or normal?

Or is it a typo of "prevent Saudi helping in the building" or "prevent Saudi's help in the building"?

  • No, it modifies the elided noun "Arabia" or "Arabian." – CodeGnome Dec 6 '15 at 17:43
  • @CodeGnome It is not really an elision of "Arabian". By itself, "Saudi" is synonymous with "Saudi Arabian". – Nihilist_Frost Dec 6 '15 at 23:23


Saudi is an adjective:

of or relating to Saudi Arabia or its inhabitants

--Collins Dictionary. See also 18 other dictionary results.

The definition and example sentences in Oxford should suffice to show that its usage is common and normal:

Relating to Saudi Arabia or its ruling dynasty.

Example sentences
Until 1964, Saudi girls were not allowed to go to school.

According to the movie, these Saudi investors own about 7 percent of the U.S. economy.

As a new rule, all Saudi visitors to the US are interviewed, fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival.

It is also a noun.

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  • "Saudi" is both a noun and an adjective. Your answer really doesn't help the OP understand its use in the sentence, though. – CodeGnome Dec 6 '15 at 17:45
  • Oh really @CodeGnome, can you read the OP's mind? – user20792 Dec 6 '15 at 17:46

Whether or not it's strictly grammatical, a lot of Americans hear "Saudi" as an adjective that modifies "Arabia" or "Arabian." As a result, it's fairly common to elide the noun, even in semi-formal speech such as newscasts.

There are certainly other ways to look at this particular sentence construct, but as a native speaker I would recommend hearing it as:

We will prevent Saudi (Arabian) help...

rather than trying to apply more complex grammatical rules.

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