They tell a joke about an Israeli man married to an American woman, living in the States. He buys her a microwave as a surprise and tells her he’s going to put it to use right away by cooking a chicken in it. As he places the chicken in the microwave, she goes into the living room to watch TV.
An hour later, the man comes out of the kitchen and says to his wife, “The chicken is not cooking! I don’t understand why!”
They both go into the kitchen, where the husband shows his wife the process he followed. He says, “I kept pressing the button that says off, but nothing happened!”
The Hebrew word for cookable chicken is עוֹף listen and repeat. Strictly speaking, עוף refers to fowl, and this is its primary meaning in Biblical Hebrew. עוף is related to the verb to fly – לָעוּף listen and repeat (yesterday’s dose).
When we use עוף in Modern Hebrew to refer to chicken, we mean only chicken that is slaughtered. To refer to a live chicken, we use תַּרְנְגוֹלֶת listen and repeat for a hen (a female) and תַּרְנְגוֹל listen and repeat for a rooster (a male).
I prepared chicken.
הַתַּרְנְגוֹלֶת מִסְתּוֹבֶבֶת בַּשְּׁכוּנָה.
The hen is walking around the neighborhood.
Enjoying Your Daily Dose of Hebrew?