how to say “number” in Hebrew
What’s your (a female’s) phone number?
But you may not have realized that מספר is related to storytelling – סיפור סיפורים . Unlike אבטיח – watermelon and ביטחון – security (see yesterday’s dose), the common root in מספר and סיפור means the same thing: something like a declaration, calling something by its name or number, labeling it with human understanding. The connection is apparent even in English: look at the verbs to count and to recount.
מספר originally meant a counting – the simple verb לספור came before the noun, perhaps most famously in Genesis 15:5:
And He took him outside, and said, Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if you can count them at all; and He said to him, thus will be your offspring.
מספר also works to mean a number of things, as in:
There are a number of familiar faces here.