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Modern Hebrew Sayings

Are you interested in updating your Hebrew conversational skills? Do you want to keep up with the times and learn the latest Hebrew slang? The Hebrew lexicon is constantly growing, but some of the most common Hebrew sayings and popular Hebrew expressions and Hebrew phrases have not yet made their way into the average Hebrew dictionary, let alone into Hebrew-English or English-Hebrew translation dictionaries. But have no fear … help with modern-day Hebrew is here!

Traditional Hebrew Sayings vs. Contemporary Hebrew Sayings

Below are some of the most traditional Hebrew greetings, Hebrew expressions, Hebrew sayings, and Hebrew words that have been around for decades, as well as their modern-day Hebrew counterparts. On your next trip to Israel or the next time you speak with your Israeli friends, surprise everybody with your grasp of the most common Hebrew terms and Hebrew idioms, the most popular Hebrew phrases, and your ability to converse in Hebrew street talk.

Hebrew Sayings: Out with the Old, In with the New

Next time you come to greet someone in Hebrew, replace the traditional Hebrew greetings of Shalom, Shalom Aleichem, Baruch Ha'bah and Ma Shlomcha? (Hello, Peace be upon you, Welcome, and How are you) with the following modern Hebrew phrases:

Ahlan (meaning "hello" in Arabic)
Ma Nishmah? (What's new?)
Ma Koreh? (What's happening?)
Ma HaInyanim? (What's going on?)
Eich Holech? (How's it going?)
Ma HaMatsav? (What's the situation? What's up?)

If you want to reply in kind, replace the standard Hebrew reply of BeSeder (okay) and Tov, todah (fine, thank you) with the following popular Hebrew expressions:

Achlah (Great, Cool)
Sababa (Great, Fantastic)
Al HaKefak (Wonderful, Fantastic, Great)
Metzu'yan (Excellent)

When someone tells you Todah or Todah Rabba (thank you or thank you very much), impress them with your contemporary Hebrew conversational skills by replacing the common reply of BeVakasha, (you're welcome) or the more formal HaTa'a'nug kulo sheli (the pleasure is all mine) with these popular Hebrew expressions and sayings:

Al Lo Davar (It's nothing; don't mention it)
Ein Be'ad Ma (There isn't for what; for nothing; don't mention it)
BeSimcha (Happily; glad to do it)

More Common Hebrew Sayings

As you expand your Hebrew vocabulary, you might find that these next most common Hebrew expressions come in handy:

  • When someone does a good job or is successful at their endeavors, replace the more ancient Hebrew acknowledgement of Yish'ar Ko'ach (congratulations; continued strength) with Kol HaKavod (literally, "all the honor" but used as congratulations, well done!)

  • If you've had a good time somewhere and are asked: Eich Ha'yah? (How was it?), respond with one of the most popular words in the modern-day Hebrew language: Keif or Ha'yah Keif (Great, fun, it was fun).

  • If you've had an absolute blast or an amazing time, you can reply to Eich Ha'yah with Hebrew slang expressions: Shiga'on (crazy/wild); Magniv (fantastic/a show stealer); Me'toraf (wild; fun).

  • On the other hand, when something is lousy, you can tell it like it is with the following Hebrew saying: Al Ha'pa'nim (lousy, messed-up, highly unfavorable).

  • To describe something that really disgusts you, use the Hebrew term: Go'al Nefesh (literally, "revulsion of the soul").

  • When something is merely chaotic or disorderly, however, or a literal mess (such as your children's bedroom), the proper Hebrew saying is Balagan.

  • If you want to make fun of your friend and tell him "You're screwed," say: Achalta Ota (Not to be mistaken with its literal meaning of "you ate it"...).

  • To call someone an idiot, you can use the Anglicized Hebrew word Id'yot,, its Hebrew equivalent Metumtam, or you can call them Tipesh (fool), or Tembel (fool, loser, idiot).

  • If you hear someone being called a shvitzer, you'll know that it means he has a negative reputation of being a bragger.

  • If you want to admire someone, however, the following Hebrew phrases can help you out: Eyn Alecha/Alayich (You're the best; there's no one better than you); Met Alayich / Meta Alecha (Love you; crazy about you; I adore you); Ata HaGadol MiKulam (You're the greatest).

  • Want to do something to spite somebody, on purpose, or with intention? Then you will be doing it Davka! (Just to spite; exactly!) – one of the most commonly used words in the Hebrew vocabulary.

  • Finally, when you hear a relieved voice saying Sof Sof! you will know that they are using the Hebrew saying that means…. FINALLY!

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