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Israeli Slang 101

Coming to Israel? Well then it’s time to brush up on your Hebrew / Israeli slang! We’ve put together 14 of the most commonly used and easy to remember phrases for you, so here it goes:

1. Sababa

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Meaning: Cool, chilled, great, right on

Example: Hanging out on the beach in Tel Aviv is “Sababa”

 

2. Al ha panim

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Meaning: Literally translates to “on the face” but in slang it means you don’t feel good or something is old, tired, not great or tasteless

Example: Yesterdays tuna sandwich now tastes “al ha panim” or after going out last night I feel “al ha panim”

 

3. Arsim and Frechot

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Meaning: The Israeli equivalent of these types of people – “Frecha” is for a female, “Ars” is for a male.

Example: think fake tan, extra long bedazzled nails, animal print, muscle tops, and diamond jewelry for men

 

4. Combina

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Meaning: Something “under the table” or “off the record” or acquired only through connections. Also means using an item for something other than it’s purpose ie. making a “make-shift” arrangement.

Example: Your uncle is the president and he gives you a high profile job in the government as soon as you get out of high school, that would be a “combina”, or using your ipad as a door stopper would also be a “combina”

 

5. Nu Kvar

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Meaning: Come on already

Example: “Nu Kvar!” You still haven’t been on a Birthright Israel trip…

 

6. L’echol Sratim

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Meaning: Literally, “to eat movies”, but in slang it means someone is behaving like a drama queen, they’re being crazy, or imagining issues when there aren’t any.

Example: Your sister is crying because you hacked her Facebook, you say “at (you) ochelet sratim”

 

7. Balagan

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Meaning: Chaos or mess

Example: The party ended up being a complete “balagan” or I can’t find my keys in all this “balagan”

 

8. Chai b’Seret

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Meaning: Literally “living in a movie”, in slang it means someone is being unrealistic

Example: What, a free trip to Israel? “Ata chai b’seret”!

 

9. K’iloo

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Meaning: Kinda like, that totally annoying and unnecessary “like” that we like put in sentences and stuff.

Example: Do you like, know what I mean?

 

10. Achi / Gever / Chabibi

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Meaning: Names you call your guy friends: Achi – brother, Gever – man, Chabibi – dude

Example: Hey, what’s up achi?

 

11. Motek, Mami, Neshama

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Meaning: Names you call your other half : “Motek” means sweetheart, “Mami” means baby, “neshama” mean soul

Example: Bob – “Hey Mami, want to go to dinner?”

Sandy – “Why, yes Motek, I do.”

Bob – “Ok, I will make reservations Neshama.”

 

12. Magniv and Achla

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Meaning: Cool

Example: He is an “achla” gever, or a night out in Jerusalem is “Magniv”

 

13. Chaval al Hazman

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Meaning: Literally, “waste of time”. But in slang it means the best thing EVER!!!

Example: 10 days in Israel is “chaval al hazman”! You will climb Masada, float in the Dead Sea, experience the best night life in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, catch a tan and swim in the warm waters of the Red Sea, explore the ancient cobbled streets of the Old City… and so much more. It’s seriously chaval al hazman!

 

14. Yalla

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Meaning: Let’s Go!

Example: Yalla! It’s time to register for that Free 10 day trip to Israel with Israel on the House