Hebrew Words That Don’t Have English Equivalents

Hebrew Words That Don’t Have English Equivalents2018-12-05T11:16:45+00:00

Project Description

One of the challenges of learning Hebrew is remembering words and use-cases that simply don’t exist in English, such as:

1. תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ

What is means: לְתִּתְחַדֵּשׁ means “to enjoy your new (something).” For example, if your guy friend bought a new pair of shoes, you might say תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ! Or, if you’re talking to a girl that just bought new shoes, you’d say תִּתְחַדְּשִׁי (f)!

Transliteration: teet-chah-desh (m), teet-chahd-shee (f)

How it sounds: 

Masculine 

Feminine 

 

2. בְּתֵאָבוֹן

 

What is means: Bon Appétit! For example, if you go to a restaurant in Israel, your server will say בְּתֵאָבוֹן right after they serve your meal.

Transliteration: beh-tay-ah-vohn  

How it sounds: 

 

3. סְתָם

 

What is means: This word has multiple meanings, depending on the context. It can mean “no reason,” or “just kidding.”

Say, someone asks, “Why are you looking at me like that?” You could respond by saying סְתָם. Or, if you tell a joke like, “I met with the prime minister yesterday,” and the person says, “Really?!” then you could say סְתָם.

Transliteration: stahm  

How it sounds: 

 

4. תַּכְלֶס

 

What is means: “Bottom line,” for example: “They said today would be extra cold but תַּכְלֶס it’s really not,or “He had so many ideas, but תַּכְלֶס he didn’t do anything”.

Transliteration: tahch-less 

How it sounds: 

 

5. וַאלְלָה

 

What is means: This is slang in Hebrew derived from Arabic, meaning Wow, really?” or “You don’t say!” For example, someone says, “My boss got fired,” and you respond: וַאלְלָה?!

Transliteration: wah-lah 

How it sounds: 

 

6. יְמָמָה

 

What is means:  This refers to a 24-hour period. For example, the market am:pm is open the whole יְמָמָה. Or, you could say it will rain in the next 24 hours (יְמָמָה).

Transliteration: yeh-mah-mah 

How it sounds: 

 

7. לֹא הִסְפַּקְתִּי

What is means: “I didn’t get the chance.” Say, if you didn’t finish your task on time, you would answer “לֹא הִסְפַּקְתִּי”.

Transliteration: low hes-pahk-tee 

How it sounds: 

 

8. מַה פִּתְאוֹם

 

What is means: Literally translating to “what suddenly,” this phrase basically means “What are you talking about?” in the sense that something is not true or surprising. For example, if someone was to say, “The food here is amazing!” and you don’t agree, you could respond with מַה פִּתְאוֹם.

Transliteration: mah peet-ohm 

How it sounds: 

 

9. בְּאִמָּא שֶׁלָּךְ

 

What is means: This word literally translates to “in your mother” but means “come on, really”?!

Transliteration: beh-eemah shel-chah (m) beh-eemah shel-ach (f) 

How it sounds:

Masculine 

Feminine


10. כַּפָּרָה

 

What is means: We’re sure you hear this one all the time. כַּפָּרָה literally means atonement, but is used as a term of endearment. However, depending on the context, it can also be used passive aggressively, like “sweetie” in English.

Transliteration: kah-par-ah

How it sounds: