So you learned Hebrew in high school, and even spoke some at home. And all your teachers told you your Hebrew is really good, and hey, you sound practically Israeli. So you decide that you want to come to Israel for a holiday, or to spend some time on the Kibbutz, and do other things that will give you the illusion that you're actually an Israeli, and the fact that you live abroad doesn't make you less of one.

Don't fuck my mind! What is it, a whore house? Transparent that you're not in the interests. Go find who will shake you. Why what? Come here, fly away!

And until you start becoming fluent in sentences like the above, you're definitely no Israeli. Of course it's practically impossible to learn slang from the intertent, but I'll do my best to help you not to be a laughing stock the second you get off the plane. (Well, the second you've taken a bus from the plane to the arrivals area, went through the third degree questioning regarding your visit and waited two hours for your luggage).

Welcome to Israel!

Slang naturally comes from the important events around us. Israeli slang revolves around the two most prominent things in Israeli life - sex and violence. This is of course in contrast to other countries, in which life revolves around other things. Like, um.. well, never mind. Seriously, though, much of the slang in Hebrew comes from the army, where a lot (too much) of the Israeli slang is invented. Also, for some reason, a lot of Israeli slang is based around explosions. So much so, that I'll give it it's own subheading. So here we go: Israeli slang, categorised by explosives, sex and other:

In bold is the hebrew pronounciation, in italics is the literal translation, and the rest is in regular font. Examples of how to use the slang are indented.

Explosives

  • פיצוץ - pitzutz - explosion - great, fantastic. (Used as a noun).
    1) "Did you go to the party last night?" "There was explosion" ("haya pitzutz") - means "It rocked!"
    2) "An explosion of a party" ("pitzutz shel mesiba") - means "Kick ass party".
    As you can probably guess, due to current events, many jokes such as "Did you take the bus yesterday?" "There was an explosion" are common. Incidentally, it can also be used as a "serious blow", as in "I got an explosion to the head", meaning "I got a serious blow to the head."

  • פצצה - ptzatza - bomb - either 1) babe or 2) as an adjective - great, fantastic.
    1) "Check out that bomb" ("klot 'ta ptzatza") - means "check out that babe".
    2)"A bomb party" ("mesiba ptzazta") - means "a kick ass partay".

  • פגז - pagaz - shell (mortar shell) - like pitzutz.
    "It was a mortar shell" ("haya pagaz") - meaning it was great.

  • פצצות לגבות - ptzatzot lagabot - bombs to the eyebrows - yes, it sounds just as silly in Hebrew. It means really pitzutz. Used as a standalone sentence (or with the following entry).
    "How was the weekend with Ruhama?" "Ptzaztot lagabot, achi" (bombs to the eyebrows, brother).

  • פיצוצים לריסים - pitzutzim larisim - explosions to the eyelashes - like the previous sentence, it rhymes, and it sounds just as stupid. It also means exactly the same, and they are often used one after the other. There are some more explosions and explosive devices meeting various body parts in Israeli slang, but we'll skip them, as these two are the most prominent, and, well, if these two sound really silly, then the others sound, well, very really silly .


  • תותח - totach - cannon - exteremly competent / extremely manly / stud. Used to describe men who do something really well. Said with respect.
    "That football player is such a cannon" (means - he da man!).


Sex- or genitalia- related

  • נשבר לי הזין - nishbar li hazayin - my dick has broken - I've had it. It can also be used by women.
    1) "Enough, my dick has broken from all of this." ("dai, nishbar li hazayin mikol ze") - I've had it with all of this.
    2) "What's wrong?" "My dick's broken from this professor / work / relationship / television."

  • שבו"ז - shavuz - broken dicked (acronym for "shvur zayin") (i.e. "ani shavuz" literally means I have a broken dick") - means down, depressed.
    "What's wrong?" "Just broken dicked" ("stam shavuz") - means "Just feeling down".

  • שווה זיון - shave / shava ziyun - worth a fuck - shave is for a guy, shava for a girl. Means what it literally means - worth a fuck. Used as in "Yeah, I'd fuck him / her."
    Often abbreviated to:

  • שווה - shave / shava - worth - an abbreviation of "shave/a ziyun", but used more generally. This is also used by people who wouldn't say the word fuck, and they probably don't even know what it stands for. You'll see many 15 years old girls talking about how "worth" men are.
    "Eize shave" - means "what a worth" - as in "what a hunk".

  • לזרוק זין - lizrok zayin - to throw (a) dick - to slack off, not do what you're suppose to, because you're too lazy / don't give a shit. It also implies disrespect for the person you'er supposed to do the job for, if one exists.
    1) "זורק זין?" - "Zorek zayin?" - translates as "throwing a dick, eh?" - means "slacking off, eh?"
    2) "You're throwing dick on me, and on all your friends" - means "your behaviour is pathetic - you're not trying, and this shows you don't give a shit about what I'm saying or about your friends." Often used in the army, especially by a commander who is really going to let you have it.
    3) "How are you doing in Biology 101?" "I'm throwing dick".

  • זרקן - zarkan - thrower (male) - female would be zarkanit - means the person throws dick a lot. i.e a lazy slacker.

  • לזיין את השכל - lezayen et hasechel - to fuck the mind - to bullshit.
    אל תזיין לי את השכל; "al tezayen li et hasechel" - don't fuck my mind - means: "don't give me that bullshit."

  • זיין שכל - zayan sechel - mind fucker - bullshit artist.

  • בית זונות - beit zonot - whore house - when there is an atmosphere of slacking off, or not doing much, especially when it feels like more should be done, this is referred to as a whore house.
    1) A drill sergeant enters a tent when everyone is resting when they should be cleaning their guns (oh, yes, we all know this one). "Whore house, eh? 10 seconds everyone outside in threes". This can be translated to English as "think this is a massage parlour? I'm going to show you the meaning of pain!"
    2) "You have to take this course - I tell you, it's a crazy whore house" (beit zonot metoraf) - means "you don't do shit in this course; you get a grade for doing practically nothing".
    3) "It's a whore house compared to what I had to do" - means it's nothing compared to what I had to do.

  • כוסית - kusit - not translateable directly - kus is pussy (as in cunt, not cat), and so it's directly from there - babe, sexy woman. Usually refers to the body, not the face. (Hey, don't blame me - men are pigs.)
    "Shioaw, eize kusit." - "fuck, what a babe".

  • כוזינה - kuzina - also untranslateable, but also descended from kus - means the same thing as kusit. Even more derogatory (hardly possible, but we managed it!). Used in the same fashion.

  • כוסון - kuson - the male version of kusit (yes, this is, too, descended from kus) - the female answer to kusit, kuzon is the female answer to kuzina. Why they didn't make it derogatory using the male bodily part I do not know. Used like kusit, only for men.

  • כוס אמק - kus emek - your mother's cunt - borrowed from Arabic. Just a generic swear word. If you wish to insult, "kus ima shelcha", which is hebrew for "your mother's cunt" is an insult, like "fuck you". "Kus emek", which is Arabic for "your mother's cunt", is more like the English "fuck".
    "Kus emek, my car broke down".
    When this is just not enough, use:

  • כוס אמאמאמאמאמק - kus ememememek - your mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's cunt - sort of like "fuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkk."

Other

Synonyms for cool
  • מגניב - magniv - sneaking (as in sneaking a water pistol into the movie theater). - cool (as in the English cool - funky, hip, etc.)

  • גנוב - ganuv - stolen - nowadays means more "weird, fucked up".
    "Eize ganuv ata" - "you're so stolen" - means "you are so weird".

  • מדליק - madlik - lighting (as in lighting a fire or switching on the light) - cool.

  • חבל על הזמן - chaval al hazman - a waste of time - this is relatively new. It means extremely good.
    "Have you tasted Josh's chocloate cake? It is a waste of time. It is the best cake you ever tasted."

  • חבל"ז - chavlaz - acronym for "chaval al hazman"

  • חבל"ז מזמ"ז - chavlaz mazmaz - I guess people thought it sounded cool. Although, IMHO, not everything that rhymes sounds cool, especially not this particular slang, but so be it. It means the same as "chavlaz", but maybe the mazmaz is supposed to make it more emphatic (or something).

  • סוף הדרך - sof haderech - end of the road - really good.
    True story - my dad's girflriend was told she looked "sof haderech" (end of the road), and she was depressed for a whole day, as she thought it meant she looked like she's at the end of the road. It really means she looks fantastic.

  • סוף הדרך שמאלה - sof haderech smaula - end of the road to the left - like saying "very end of the road". You can also say "end of the road to the right", "end of the road north", etc.

  • סופני - sofani - terminal - yes, as in "terminal illness". No, I have no idea where this came from, and it's kind of sick, but it's used as another word for cool.

/Synonyms for cool
  • סבבה - sababa - no translation possible, as it doesn't come from any word I know - cool, but not as in "cool car, dude". More like "it'll be cool".
    1) "The party was sababa" - the party was cool - not "oh my god, the greatest thing since sliced bread", but cool.
    2) "What's his girlfriend like?" "Sababa, achi" - she's alright, bro.

  • ים - yam - sea - a lot of. See next entry for example.

  • ים כוסיות - yam kusiot - a sea of babes - just one of the ways to use "yam", but by far the most popular.
    "Are you coming to the party? There will be a sea of babes."

  • שפיץ - shpitz - point (as in the point of a pencil) - like "totach" - someone who's really good at what he does.
    "Can he do differential equaltions?" "It is a waste of your time, he is a point" - means forget, it, dude, he rocks.

  • סרטים - sratim - movies - really bad things (things you wish weren't reality).
    1) "I got into such movies" - roughly means: I was depressed, and kept seeing the worst of everything, and kept fucking with my own brain.
    2) "She made such movies for me yesterday" - roughly means: she gave me a really hard time, and it lasted forever.

  • שקוף - shakuf - transparent - obvious.
    "Will you come to the clinic with me tomorrow?" "Transparent" - of course I will.

  • שקיף - shakeef - a distortion of shakuf - means the same as shakuf.

  • נעל - na'al - shoe - stupid. Comes from "has the IQ of a shoe", but now is standalone.
    "She's such a shoe"

  • מצב - matzav - situation - "there is a situation" means "it is forseeable", or "it is possible that". Used in two ways: yesh matzav and ein matzav. See following entries.

  • יש מצב - yesh matzav - there is a situation - either as a question, when it means "is there a situation", i.e. could (or will) it happen, or as an answer / statement: "there is a situation", i.e. it will (probably) happen.
    1) "Is there a situation that we go to a movie today?" ("Yesh matzav shenilech leseret?") - basically means "can we go out to a movie today?"
    2) "Of course there is a situation" - means sure.

  • אין מצב - ein matzav - there is no situation.
    "Is there a situation you'll get some hash for me too?" "Forget it, there isn't a situation, brother." ("Shkach mize, achi, ein matzav").

  • על הפנים - al hapanim - on the face - really bad, sucks. Often used as an adjective for mood.
    1) "How are things?" "Don't ask, on the face". Things suck, big time.
    2) "The situation is on the face."

  • ?למה מי מת - lama mi met? - why who died? - means "what? what happened that I should do this?" Used like "who died and made you king?", usually as a standalone sentence.
    1) "Hey, go clean the toilets." "Why who died?"

Acronyms
  • זבש"ך - zabashcha - acronym for "zot beaya shelcha", meaning "it is your problem".

  • אס"ק - asak - acronym for "avirat sof kurs", meaning "end of course atmosphere" - comes from the army. At the end of a course, there is a "beit zonot" atmosphere, and not much is done.
    "I see you're in asak" - I see you're just lounging around as if you're on holiday.

Of course there is no way I could have covered all the Israeli slang. This was just all I could remember now.

But, nevertheless, come to Israel, achi, yam kusiot.

It is, perhaps, noteworthy that modern Hebrew does not have any indigenous swear-words. Practically all swear words and phrases in Hebrew are, in fact, borrowed from other languages (usually either Arabic, Russian, Yiddish or English). This does not mean that the imported words always retain their original meaning or connotation (most people don't know, for instance, that the common manyak is a derivation of the Arab manyuk or that this word originally meant 'someone-who-takes-it-up-the-arse'), but they are usually recognizable to those who speak the original lanuages from which they were taken. This can lead to embarrassing situation, because when an Israeli says kibini mat he doesn't really think of the Russian 'Go to your fucking mother'*.

What brought this situation about was the fact of the unusual and unique history of the Hebrew language. Hebrew is the only language in recorded history to be brought back to life as a spoken language. Ever since the 5th century CE, there were no Hebrew native speakers. As jews were dispersed throughout the world they have come to adopt local languages, often modifying them a bit to better suit their needs (thus creating the many "Jewish Languages"), forsaking in the process their own language. Even in Israel itself, with the exception of the area surrounding Jerusalem, Hebrew was replaced with Aramaic as spoken language as early as the 1st century BCE.

Hebrew has continued to be a written language and has accumulated over the centuries a large, diverse and rich academic literature, rivalled only by the Latin one in Europe, and exceeded (at that time) only by the Arabic one. However, diverse though this literature was, its main concerns were science, history, theology, philosophy, poetry and explorations, fields not notorious for using much dirty talking.

When the efforts to revive Hebrew started (around the late 19th century), the task of adapting the language to everyday speech was in the hands of scholars, and their main concern was not the creation of curses (not to mention they probably thought it unseemly). However, people coming to Israel from the diaspora needed such words, and when they couldn't find ones in the old-new language, they reverted to their native tongues (mostly Russian and Yiddish), or borrowed from the other inhabitants of the land (Arabs).

The infiltration of English words into Hebrew is a relatively new occurrence (a matter of the last two or three decades), aided mainly by cinema and television (and, probably, the lack of local words).


* thanks to Footprints for correcting the mistaken translation I supplied earlier.

Additional Israeli Slang:

בלבולי ביצים ללא תכלית - Bilbulei Beitzim Lelo Tahlit - Bullshit, babbling, rambling without a purpose. Rarely used in it full form but often used as it's acronym.

בבל"ת - Bablat - Acronym for Bilbulei Beitzim Lelo Thalit.

לך תחפש ת'חברים שלך - Leh Te'Ha'Pes TaHaverim Shal'Ha - Go seek your friends. A phrase used to shoo or drive away a person.

לך תחפש - Leh Te'Ha'Pes - Go seek. A shorter form for the previous phrase.

תשב בלול - Teshev BaLul - Sit in the playpen. This phrase means that a person should butt out and not intervene i.e. in the conversation, argument, discussion, etc.

אני בנק למסחר - Ani Bank LeMis'Har - I'm the Trading Bank. A recent addition to Hebrew slang. A reference to a bank scandal after which the bank went bankrupt. Means that the person saying the phrase is broke - he or she has no more money left to give to purchase something or especially to return a debt.

רסיסים לריסים - Resisim LaRisim - Ricochets to the eyebrows. Like Pzazot LaRisim only it rhymes.

קאסם שניים לשיניים - Kasem Shnaim LaShinaim - Kasem two to the teeth. The Kasem two is a short-range rocket that the Palestinians use to bombard Israeli territories. This is often used with the Ptzatzot LaGabot, Resisim LaRisim. It simply means something that is cool.

לא רואה ממטר - Lo Ro'E MiMeter - Can't see from a meter. Quite literal. Means that a person cannot see something that is right in front of him or her.

לעבוד בצומת - Laavod BaTzomet - To work at the junction. Means to work as a prostitute and look for job at places where drivers stop, such as junctions.

בלעת מילון - Balata Milon - Did you swallow a dictionary? Asked to degrade a person using florid language.

שרשר - SharShar - A distortion of the Hebrew word for a necklace (Sharsheret), means a large, tacky, cheap gold necklace, often with a large golden medallion hanged on it.

גורמט - Gormet - See SharShar.

ערס - Arse - Doesn't quite translate to English. The meaning of the slang word is much like the English word arse. A person, usually male, who wears clothing in bright colors, listens to arabic and trance music and behaves generally like a jerk.

פרחה - Fre'Ha - A bimbo, ditzy. A woman that wears skimpy clothes with bright colors, high platform shoes and has many piercings. She also usually gives the impression of low intelligence and often speaks bad Hebrew. Promiscuity is often associated with them. It's male counterpart is usually the Arse rather then the Freh.

פרח - Freh- A male bimbo. The male version of the Fre'Ha

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