מְעַצְבֵּן The Hebrew word עצב means nerve, so that someone nervous is עצבני (a male) or עצבנית (a female). To get on someone’s nerves – to annoy – is the active-intensive לעצבן. For example: נראה לי שעצבנתי אותו. I think I annoyed him. How about annoying? That’s מעצבן and מעצבנת. For example: איזו פרסומת מעצבנת! What an annoying commercial!
סַקְרָנוּת The Hebrew word סקר means survey – something involving checking things out, satisfying curiosity. Someone curious is סקרן (a male) or סקרנית (a female). For example: אני סקרן לדעת מה קרה אתמול. I’m curious to know what happened yesterday. Likewise, curiosity is סקרנות. For example: אפשר לראות את הסקרנות בעיניים של התינוקת. (One) can see the curiosity in the […]
סַבְלָנוּת, סוֹבְלָנוּת Yesterday we saw the two very closely related words, סיכון – risk and סכנה – danger. We saw that in their adjective forms of dangerous and risky, they have the same word: מסוכן. Another pair of words that are nearly identical is סבלנות and סובלנות – the former means patience, and the latter means tolerance. Their meanings are […]
מְסֻכָּן The Hebrew words for dangerous and risky are the same: מסוכן. An example of מסוכן as dangerous: מסוכן לעמוד כל כך קרוב לקצה הצוק! It’s dangerous to stand so close to the edge of the cliff! And here’s מסוכן as risky: הימורים הוא עסק מסוכן. Gambling is risky business. מסוכן comes from the passive-intensive verb form. Danger […]
כֶּשֶׁל, כִּשָּׁלוֹן Hebrew has one word for to fail – the nifal verb להיכשל. For example: הוא נכשל במבחן. He failed (in) the test. A failure, however, has more than one word: while כשל refers to a failure as in a lapse or simply a fail, such as a כשל מכני – a mechanical failure, כישלון refers to failure in the more general sense. To […]
חֲסַר תַּקְדִּים A precedent, in Hebrew, is תקדים, of the root ק.ד.מ meaning first or early. You may recognize the root from words such as מוקדם – early and !קדימה – let’s go (ahead)! תקדים in context: החלטת בית המשפט מהווה תקדים חשוב. The court’s decision constitutes an important precedent. Unprecedented is חסר תקדים – literally, lacking a precedent. For […]
חֹמֶר לְשִׁנּוּן Review Material Can’t read Hebrew yet? You spent time on your Hebrew this week. Use these review materials to make it yours to keep. Flashcards . Scatter . Space Race . Test שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם, וְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים! Shabbat Shalom, and have a nice weekend!
לְשַׁפֵּר וּלְשַׁמֵּר The Aramaic word for beauty is שופרא, of the root ש.פ.ר. Hebrew uses this root as well – especially Modern Hebrew, where the active-intensive verb לשפר means to improve something – to make something more beautiful, better. For example: אתם צריכים לשפר את המשחק שלכם. You guys need to improve your game. We’ve seen that the root ש.מ.ר […]
מְאַבְטֵחַ The Hebrew word for to guard or to keep is לשמור. And indeed, שומר (for a male) or שומרת (for a female) could refer to the person doing their best to make sure we’re safe at the mall or at the synagogue. But the better term is מאבטח or מאבטחת, as these words mean he/she who provides security. For […]
שְׁמוּרַת טֶבַע We’ve seen that the Hebrew word for to keep or to guard is לשמור. A reserve – that which is preserved or kept – is called שמורה. And since טבע refers to more than a pair of sandals but to nature itself, a nature reserve is שמורת טבע. For example: עמק החולה הוא לא רק פארק לאומי, אלא […]
בֵּייבִּיסִיטֶר, שְׁמַרְטַף To watch the kids in Hebrew is לשמור על הילדים, literally, to watch/keep/guard the children. But the professional who assume this role when parents are away is not called a watchperson or a guardian in English – they’re called a babysitter. This term is so lovely to the ear that Israelis use it to refer to the people […]