Two in One: the coolest double meanings in Hebrew

1 min read
Hilly Perlman, Citizen Cafè teacher
Hilly Perlman, Citizen Cafè teacher

Did you know that there are approximately 1 million words used in modern English, while only 75,000 in Hebrew?!

Those of you learning Hebrew must feel relieved… However, it also means that Hebrew has quite a few double meanings.
Some of them make a lot of sense, while others, well… You will get used to them over time. Context is always the key to understanding the right meaning of the word.

Let’s start with a double meaning that has a nice reasoning behind it:

The Hebrew word פקק (pkahk) means traffic jam, but it also means cork. It make sense if you think about it, as they both stop movement – one of liquids and the other of vehicles.

You might know the verb to tell לספר (leh-sah-pehr), but did you know its other commonly used meaning is – to cut hair? In that case, you can distinguish between the two meanings by checking the preposition that follows the verb:

He tells me: הוא מספר לי (hooh meh-sah-pehr lee)

He is cutting my hair: הוא מספר אותי (hoo meh-sah-pehr oh-tee)

** There are no hacks for this one, you just have to remember which prepositions goes with each meaning.

And here’s a nice surprise for you – some double meanings are the same in Hebrew and English!

The verb for lighting something (a candle, a fire, a light) in the present tense is מדליק (mahd-leek), which is also a slang word for cool! Just like the slang word “lit” in English, comes from the verb “to light”. So when someone tells you – היא מדליקה (hee mahd-lee-kah) – you’ll have to try and figure out whether she is lighting something up or if she’s just super lit!

Get a FREE practice and find your Hebrew level!
join the fun and Get 20% Off
Digital Courses!
Signup to stay in the Loop with Tips, Tricks, and More for Learning Hebrew!

You’ve got options

Learn Hebrew online from anywhere in the world with live classes taught by our local teachers!

Learn Hebrew Online

Join us IRL at our Tel Aviv campus with intimate class sizes and our amazing community of locals.

Learn Hebrew in Person
Skip to main content

Get 20% off

you first Hebrew digital course

Signup to stay in the Loop with Tips, Tricks, and More for Learning Hebrew!