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Oct 1, 2014

how to say "sailor" in Hebrew


מַלָּח


The Hebrew word for sailor, appearing already in Biblical Hebrew, is מַלָּח listen and repeat

For example:

הַמַּלָּחִים עוֹבְדִים עַל הַסְּפִינָה.
The sailors are working on the ship.

With an ah-AH vowel sequence and an emphasized second root letter, מַלָּח follows the sound pattern of the names of other professionals, such as טַבָּח listen and repeat meaning butcher and נַגָּר listen and repeat meaning carpenter.

Don't confuse מלח with ְמַלְאָך listen and repeat meaning angel, or in Biblical Hebrew, also messenger - though the two words sound alike in today's pronunciation.

And don't confuse מַלָּח with מֶלַח listen and repeat meaning salt - though the words are spelled the same way.

A synonym for מַלָּח is יַמַּאי listen and repeat, derived from the word for sea, יָם listen and repeat.

Sep 30, 2014

how to say "a wish" in Hebrew


מִשְׁאָלָה


The simple word for a request is בַּקָּשָׁה listen and repeat, so that the common Hebrew term for please - literally, with request - is בְּבַקָּשָׁה listen and repeat.

But a wish is more than a simple request, as it expresses hopes and dreams.

The Hebrew word for a wish is מִשְׁאָלָה
 listen and repeat, of the root שׁ.א.ל (sh.a.l), the concept of asking.

The word in context:

מִשְׁאָלַתְךָ פְּקוּדָה הִיא לִי.
Your wish is my command (literally, Your wish, a command it is to me.)
(to a male) 

and

שֶׁיִּתְמַלְּאוּ כָּל מִשְׁאָלוֹת לִבֵּךְ לְטוֹבָה.
May (literally, that) all of your heart's desires (wishes) for good be fulfilled.
(to a female)

Sep 29, 2014

how to say "easy" in Hebrew


קַל


Hebrew's word for easy is the same as that of lightweight - קַל listen and repeat.

For example:

צוֹם קַל!
(Have an) easy fast!

and

כֻּלָּם חוֹשְׁבִים שֶׁיִּשׁ לוֹ חַיִּים קָלִים.
Everyone thinks he has an easy life.

קל is an ancient word appearing already in Biblical Hebrew. By the Mishnaic era, there was a word for ease - קָלוּת listen and repeat - and today we have a word for easily (literally with ease) - בְּקָלוּת listen and repeat.

For example:

הִיא עָבְרָה אֶת הַמִּבְחָן בְּקָלוּת.
She passed the test easily.

Sep 28, 2014

how to say "hard" in Hebrew


קָשֶׁה


The Hebrew word for hard both in the physical and metaphorical senses is קָשֶׁה listen and repeat.

For example:

יֵשׁ הַרְבֵּה סוּגֵי גְּבִינוֹת קָשׁוֹת.
There are many types of hard cheeses.

and 

קָשֶׁה לָצוּם.
It's hard (difficult) to fastFasting is hard.

A synonym of hard is stiff, and the Hebrew word for stiff - ַקָשִׁיח listen and repeat - is the one used in the phrase for hard disk: ַדִּיסְק קָשִׁיח listen and repeat.

Sep 23, 2014

how to say "coming full circle" in Hebrew


סְגִירַת מַעֲגָל


Tomorrow evening, Jews around the world will be celebrating רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה listen and repeat - Rosh Hashana, the head of the year - thus coming full circle seasonally and religiously.

The Hebrew expression for coming full circle borrows from applied physics, where a closed circuit is a מַעֲגָל סָגוּר listen and repeat.

Coming full circle is סְגִירַת מַעֲגָל listen and repeat - literally, closing of a circle/circuit.

For example:

הַפְּגִישָׁה הַפִּתְאוֹמִית שֶׁלִּי אִתָּהּ אַחֲרֵי שָׁנִים רַבּוֹת, הָיְתָה מִין סְגִירַת מַעֲגָל לִשְׁנֵינוּ.
My sudden reunion with her after many years was a sort of coming full circle for both of us.

Sep 22, 2014

how to say "headline" in Hebrew


כּוֹתֶרֶת


The word title has a few meanings in English. Here I'll focus on the one that you find on the cover of a book or at the top of a newspaper article... also called a headline.

The word is כּוֹתֶרֶת listen and repeat, whose root is the letters that form the word כֶּתֶר listen and repeat meaning crown: The words at the top of the article form a sort of crown for the content below.

For example:

הַסִּפּוּר עַל הַמַּלְכָּה תָּפַס אֶת כָּל הַכּוֹתָרוֹת לְמֶשֶׁךְ שָׁבוּעַ יָמִים.
The story about the queen took up (caught) all the headlines for a week.