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Aug 5, 2010

what the ubiquitous Hebrew word "davka" means...

דווקא


First of all, this word is used in Modern Hebrew, but it's borrowed from Aramaic.

The Hebrew root it's related to is ד.ו.ק (d.v.k), which has to do with thinness. The word דַּק (dahk) means fine or slight, or subtle. The root also gives rise to the words לְדַיֵּק (le-dah-YEHK) - to be precise; and  דִּקְדּוּק (deek-DOOK) - grammar.

So what does דַּוְקָא () actually mean? Here's what the online dictionary, Morfix, has to say: (colloquial) specifically, precisely ; (colloquial) in fact, actually.

It's typically translated as specifically or precisely, but דוקא means more than that. It's said with an attitude - with an in your face! air to it, though sometimes subtle. 

A couple of examples:

אֲתָּה לֹא אוֹהֵב אֶת הַמִּסְעָדָה? אֲנִי דַּוְקָא אוֹהֶבֶת אוֹתָה (ah-TAH loh oh-HEV et ha-mees-ah-DAH? ah-NEE DAHV-kah oh-HEH-vet oh-TAH) - You don't like the restaurant? I actually do like it (to be spoken with a subtle attitude).

לָמָה אֲתָּה עוֹשֵׂה אֶת זֶה דַּוְקָא? (LAH-mah ah-TAH oh-SEH et zeh DAHV-kah?) - Why are you doing this (on purpose/ to spite me/ etc.)?
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