November 8, 2009 5:04 pm at 5:04 pm #590761ronrsrMember
I love to find the etymology of modern Hebrew words. I know that not everyone here has positive thoughts about Ben-Yehuda, but there are some wonderful words in modern Hebrew, even those that have come into the language in very modern times.
When a word was needed for which there wasn’t a biblical word, Ben-Yehuda would look to the Arabic root. If there wans’t an appropriate root, he would look at etymology in other languages. For instance, English gets the word kindergarten from German, Garden of Children, and Hebrew takes the same etymological path, making it Gan-Yeladim.
My favorite neologism has to do with automobiles. A headlight on a car is called a Silb — from the English “Sealed Beam,” which is a type of headlight that was used when automakers had more common sense. To the Hebrew-hearing ear, it sounds like Silbim, which is a plural. So what’s the singular of silbim — Silb.
One of the parts that help to slow and stop your car is called “Brakes.” Of course, that is singular, since the plural is “Brakesim.” The parking brake is called a “handbreks,” even though you only have one.
Do you have a favorite serious or humorous hebrew etymology?November 8, 2009 8:04 pm at 8:04 pm #667421sammygolMember
How about Backaxle kadmi?November 8, 2009 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #667422guntherMember
the part of the toliet where the water is stored and is flushed down is called a niagara????? as in Niagra Falls!!!
That is my all time favoriteNovember 9, 2009 2:50 am at 2:50 am #667423jphoneMember
Tik James Bond for attache case.November 9, 2009 3:15 am at 3:15 am #667424JotharMember
A scooter is a Vespa. How about his nemer being striped instead of spotted?November 9, 2009 3:38 am at 3:38 am #667425plonisalmonisMember
“Front exel” for the front axel of a car, “front-beck exel” for the back axel.
One roll of film (remember those?) is a “fil”, more than one – “filim”.
One boureka “borekas”, more than one “borekasim”.
USB flash drive – “disk on key”
I love it!November 9, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am #667426
I saw a great bumper sticker with leopard tracks on it that said in Hebrew:
na nam namer menumar.
I have been looking for one ever since.November 9, 2009 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #667428
Isn’t it (wasn’t it) filim and filmim? Correct word: tarmilim as with any other cartridge.November 9, 2009 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #667429onlyemesMember
Starwolf: A better one is …????, ?????? ?? ???? ??????? ?????November 9, 2009 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #667430cantoresqMember
When I first went to Israel, I couldn’t remember how to say elevator. So I referred to it as a “yaale veyavo.” People thought it very funny. Other mistakes were my use of “mekarer” insteat of “frigider” and “tzimriya” instead of “sveder.” I also referred to popcorn as “tiras hemefutzatz” and money as “mamon.” Then there was the time I went to a store and asked the clerk “Mchor na li me’at lechem v’chemah.”November 9, 2009 8:44 pm at 8:44 pm #667431guntherMember
cantor: Merkarer is a fridge and is the common word here!
sammygol: that is one of my favs also!November 9, 2009 8:48 pm at 8:48 pm #667432noitallmrParticipant
The best was when I went into an Israeli take-away and asked for a Kelev-Cham…(hot dog)
They looked at me as if i came from Pluto…November 9, 2009 9:57 pm at 9:57 pm #667433MASHEHUKAZEHMember
The funniest one is that a “disconkee” is a flash drive thatu put in ur computer cuz a lot of times they come in key chains so its “a disc on a key!!!”November 9, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm #667434cantoresqMember
Another Hebrew malapropism of mine was to ask people “Mah l’malah?” when I met them.November 10, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm #667435
Does anyone know how bleach came to be called “ekonomika”? The correct word is “loven” as in “Loven Kleen” which I think is now rebranded as CIF ekonomika ever since Unilever purchased Kleen.November 10, 2009 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #667436
I think that bleach became ekonomika the same way that kleenex became tissue. simply because of brand prevalence.November 10, 2009 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #667437JotharMember
A scooter is a “Vespa”.November 10, 2009 6:10 pm at 6:10 pm #667438
There is and to the best of my knowledge has not been any brand of bleach sold under the brand name “ekonomika” alone for at least the past 25 years.
However, Sano (which I use for kiddush because it has a BaDaTz hechsher and has a nice lemon flavor), the off brands, and IIRC Cif all call their liquid chlorine bleach ekonomika, and non chlorine bleaches are marked “lelo ekonomika”.
If “ekonomika” were a brand name, that would be the equivalent of Pathmark’s bleach being called “Pathmark Clorox” which we know is not the case. Perhaps it was a brand name of bleach before 1948 that has since lost its copyright status.November 10, 2009 9:48 pm at 9:48 pm #667439
I don’t know when “ekonomika” was last sold. Still, these words take on a life of their own.
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