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Jul 29, 2014

how to say "the United Kingdom" in Hebrew

הַמַּמְלָכָה הַמְּאֻחֶדֶת

The other day we saw that the United Nations, in Hebrew, is האומות המאחדות listen and repeat. or, usually abbreviated to האו"ם listen and repeat.

Here's another "united" political body, except this one's in the singular: הממלכה המאחדת listen and repeat is the United Kingdom. But unlike in English where the phrase gets abbreviated to the UK, Hebrew doesn't abbreviate thus. Rather the British political entity is more usually referred to as אנגליה listen and repeat (England) or בריטניה listen and repeat (Britain).

For example:

טַסְתָּ לַמַּמְלָכָה הַמְּאֻחֶדֶת? אַתָּה מִתְכַּוֵּן שֶׁטַּסְתָּ לְאַנְגְּלִיָּה?
You (a male) flew to the United Kingdom? Do you mean that you flew to England?

The words מאוחדות listen and repeat and מאוחדת listen and repeat derive from the passive-intensive verb form.

Jul 28, 2014

how to say "blocked number" in Hebrew

מִסְפָּר חָסוּם, מִסְפָּר חָסוּי

If you're ready for some mini immersion, change your phone settings to Hebrew. It's a great way of picking up some new vocabulary in the area of communications.

Whereas on an English screen, you might get a call from a "blocked" number, on a Hebrew screen you'll see:

מִסְפָּר חָסוּם


מִסְפָּר חָסוּי
מספר חסום means literally, blocked number. The word חסום listen and repeat comes from the root ח.ס.מ (kh.s.m) meaning blocking, as does the word מַחְסוֹם listen and repeat - barrier or blockade.

מספר חסוי listen and repeat, in contrast, means literally, protected or confidential number. חסוי listen and repeat comes from the root ח.ס.ה (kh.s.h), meaning concealment. It's the same root at מַחְסֶה listen and repeat, a flowery term meaning shelter that appears in the Biblical poem, Psalm 104, the psalm about which I've been told that Christian philosopher Immanuel Kant said that it's worth studying Hebrew for ten years just to read in the original.

For example, someone (they) called me from a blocked number would sound, in Hebrew, like one of the following:

הִתְקַשְּׁרוּ אֵלַי מִמִּסְפָּר חָסוּם.


הִתְקַשְּׁרוּ אֵלַי מִמִּסְפָּר חָסוּי.

Jul 27, 2014

how to say "the United Nations" in Hebrew


The only organization whose name has been appearing in the news as often as Hamas recently is the United Nations

The Hebrew translation is הָאוּמוֹת הַמְּאֻחָדוֹת listen and repeat, or in short, like "the UN," הָאוּ"ם listen and repeat.

Broken down:

האומות listen and repeat - plural of האומה listen and repeat, the nation

המאוחדות listen and repeat - plural of הַמְּאֻחָד listen and repeat - the united, of the root אֶחָד listen and repeat - one

For example:

בָּאן קִי מוּן הוּא מַזְכַּ"ל הָאוּ"ם.
Ban Ki Moon is the Secretary General of the United Nations.

מזכ"ל listen and repeat is the abbreviation for מַזְכִּיר כְּלָלִי listen and repeat - secretary general (in the masculine).

Jul 25, 2014

make this week's Hebrew yours - REVIEW this week's doses!

חֹמֶר לְשִׁנּוּן
Review Material
Review, practice and test yourself on this week's doses of Hebrew!

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

Jul 24, 2014

how to say "an escape" in Hebrew


The Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world includes:

לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְלַגֵּר וְלַתּוֹשָׁב בְּתוֹכָם, תִּהְיֶינָה שֵׁשׁ הֶעָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, לְמִקְלָט לָנוּס שָׁמָּה, כָּל מַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ בִּשְׁגָגָה.
For the Children of Israel, and for the sojourner and the resident among them, shall be these six cities, as a refuge to escape there, all who strike a soul accidentally.
(Numbers 35:15)

לָנוּס listen and repeat is a higher-register synonym of the more colloquial word for to escape - לִבְרוֹחַ listen and repeat. It's an active-simple verb of the hollow variety.

Thus an escape in the general sense is מָנוֹס listen and repeat, while a physical escape from a place is בְּרִיחָה listen and repeat.

For example:

אֵין מָנוֹס מֵרְשוּיוֹת הַמַּס.
There is no escaping the tax authorities.


הֵם תִּכְנְנוּ בְּרִיחָה מִבֵּית הַסֹּהַר.
They planned an escape from the prison.

Jul 23, 2014

how to say "fighter" in Hebrew


Strangely enough, the Hebrew root for war is the same as that for bread: ל.ח.מ ( For an explanation of why that might be, see this entry.

And a warrior or a fighter? That's לוֹחֵם listen and repeat for a male and לוֹחֶמֶת listen and repeat for a female.

For example:

שְׁלוֹשִׁים אֶלֶף אֲנָשִׁים הִשְׁתַּתְּפוּ בְּהַלְוָיָתוֹ שֶׁל הַלּוֹחֵם מַקְס שְׁטַיינְבֶּרְג הַיּוֹם.
Thirty thousand people took part in the funeral of the fighter Max Steinberg today.

Jul 22, 2014

how to say "shelter" in Hebrew


One of the most common words heard on the lips of Israelis these days is, unfortunately, the one for shelter - מִקְלָט listen and repeat. The word first appears in the Torah portion to be read this Shabbat by Jews around the world, where cities of refuge are to be set up around Israel as well as in Israelite Transjordan.

The word's root is ק.ל.ט (k.l.t) meaning to absorb: a shelter or a refuge is a place that absorbs those seeking it.

The word in context:

בִּדְרוֹם הָאָרֶץ, אֲנָשִׁים רָצִים לְמִקְלָטִים כַּמָּה פְּעָמִים בְּשָׁעָה.
In the south of the country (Israel), people run to shelters several times an hour.