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Jan 29, 2015

how to say "a spring" in Hebrew


The common Hebrew name מַעְיָן  listen and repeat - given mostly to girls but also to boys - means spring or well.

For example:

אֵזוֹר בֵּית שְׁאַן נִקְרָא "עֵמֶק הַמַּעְיָנוֹת."
The Beit Shean region is called "The Valley of the Springs."

A synonym of מעין is עַיִן  listen and repeat - also the word for eye.

עין is typically used in the construct state, in phrases such as עֵין עָקֵב  listen and repeat - Akev Spring (literally, Spring of Akev).

Jan 28, 2015

how to say "genius" in Hebrew

גָּאוֹן, גְּאוֹנִי

If you like Israeli music, you've likely come across at least a couple of songs by Yehoram Gaon, such as this one.

The name Gaon - גָּאוֹן  listen and repeat - means excellence or majesty in Biblical Hebrew, but in Modern Hebrew it means genius

For example:

הַיַּלְדָּה הַזֹּאת פָּשׁוּט גָּאוֹן.
This girl is simply a genius.

Note that גאון refers to both males and females.

Now, that's genius in the noun sense. To say that something is genius - to use genius in the adjective sense, you would use גְּאוֹנִי  listen and repeat when describing something masculine and גְּאוֹנִית  listen and repeat when describing something feminine. 

For example:

אֵיזֶה רַעְיוֹן גְּאוֹנִי!
What a genius idea!

גאון is related to the word גֵּאֶה  listen and repeat  - proud.

Jan 27, 2015

how to say "tendency" in Hebrew


The Hebrew verb לִנְטוֹת  listen and repeat, of the root נ.ט.ה (n.t.h), means to tend or to be inclined

For example:

אֲנִי נוֹטֶה לְהַצְבִּיעַ לְמִפְלָגוֹת קְטַנּוֹת.
I (a male) tend to vote for a small parties.

Likewise, נְטִיָּה means tendency, as in the phrase נְטִיָּה מִינִית  listen and repeat - sexual orientation or sexual tendency.

Jan 26, 2015

three words for "car" in Hebrew

אוֹטוֹמְכוֹנִית, רֶכֶב


In contemporary English we say car, but way back when, people used to call their cars automobiles.

One of Hebrew's three words for car is an abbreviation of that word: אוֹטוֹ  listen and repeat.

Take the opening line from this children's song for example:

הָאוֹטוֹ שֶׁלָּנוּ גָּדוֹל וְיָרוֹק...
Our green car is big and green...


As for most inventions of the modern world, classical Hebrew doesn't have a word for car, so the first modern speakers borrowed the foreign word and called it an אוטו. But soon a proper Hebrew word was invented, and it stuck: מְכוֹנִית  listen and repeat.

For example:

אֵיפֹה מְיַצְּרִים אֶת הַמְּכוֹנִיּוֹת הָאֵלֶּה?
Where do they manufacture these cars?

מכונית comes from the word for machineמְכוֹנָה  listen and repeat (borrowed from Biblical Hebrew).


There there's a third word for car, the most commonly used today: רֶכֶב  listen and repeat.

רכב means literally vehicle, but it is most typically used to refer to the private vehicle made by Mazda, Mercedes, Fiat etc.

For example:

יֵשׁ פֹּה הַרְבֵּה רְכָבִים - אֵיזוֹ שֶׁלְּךָ, דָּוִד?
There are lots of cars here - which is yours, David?

רכב comes from the root ר.כ.ב (r.k.b) meaning riding.

Jan 25, 2015

how to say "maze" in Hebrew


The Hebrew root ב.ו.כ (b.w.k) means confusion, so that someone who is נָבוֹךְ  listen and repeat (or נְבוֹכָה  listen and repeat if she is a female) is confused or perplexed. נבוך and נבוכה also describe someone embarrassed

This root also gives rise to the word for maze or labyrinth - מָבוֹךְ  listen and repeat - a place that perplexes its travelers. 

For example:

טִיַּלְנוּ בְּמָבוֹךְ מֵחוּץ לָאַרְמוֹן בְּמַדְרִיד.
We walked around in the maze outside the palace in Madrid.

Likewise, the name of my ninth-grade history textbook was עוֹלָם בְּמָבוֹךְ  listen and repeat - A World in a Labyrinth.

Jan 23, 2015

WEEKLY REVIEW - Make this Week's Doses of Hebrew Your Own

חֹמֶר לְשִׁנּוּן
Review Material
You spent time on your Hebrew this week.

Use these review materials to make it yours to keep.

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם, וְסוֹף שָׁבוּעַ נָעִים!
Shabbat Shalom, and have a nice weekend!

Jan 22, 2015

how to say "to draw money" in Hebrew

לִמְשׁוֹךְ כֶּסֶף

The verb to draw in English might refer to drawing a picture on canvas, water from a well or money from a machine.

Hebrew has different words for each of these.

To draw a picture is לְצַיֵּר צִיּוּר  listen and repeat.

To draw water is לִשְׁאוֹב מַיִם  listen and repeat.

And to draw money is לִמְשׁוֹךְ כֶּסֶף  listen and repeat - literally, to pull money.

For example:

אֵין לְךָ שְׁטָרוֹת? לֵךְ תִּמְשׁוֹךְ כֶּסֶף מֵהַכַּסְפּוֹמָט.
You (a male) don't have bills? Go draw money from the ATM.

למשוך is an active-simple verb of the root מ.שׁ.כ (