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Feb 27, 2013

how to say "to wash the dishes" in Hebrew

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לִשְׁטוֹף כֵּלִים

Those who study the דַּף יוֹמִי- the daily page (of Talmud) - probably came across the word לְהִשְׁתַּטֵּף today (they also know that the Talmud has very little to do with brainwash). In the Talmudic context, that word means to rinse oneself. It's a word that is no longer used in spoken Hebrew.

When pronounced by your average Israeli, להשתטף sounds just like the word for to participate - לְהִשְׁתַּתֵּף, a word that can be found of the lips of every Israeli schoolchild and teacher. To tell the difference between these two reflexive-intensive הִתְפַּעֵל verbs, look at their roots:

להשתטף - the root is שׁ.ט.פ meaning rinsing
להשתתף - the root is שׁ.ת.פ meaning partnership

While להשתטף no longer gets spoken, its root, שׁ.ט.פ, is alive and well, most commonly in the active-simple פָּעַל verb, לִשְׁטוֹף- to rinse.

Everyday expressions include:

לִשְׁטוֹף כֵּלִים - to rinse/wash (the) dishes, שְׁטִיפַת כֵּלִים - (the act of) rinsing/washing (the) dishes


שְׁטִיפַת מֹחַ - brainwash

Another expression that also means to rinse (the) dishes is לְהַדִּיחַ כֵּלִים

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