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Whether you’re planning a trip to Israel or simply interested in Israeli culture, learning Hebrew slang words is a great way to connect with Israelis and understand their sense of humor. Israeli slang, known as “street Hebrew,” is a lively and colorful language that reflects the country’s unique blend of cultures, offering a fascinating glimpse into the language and culture of this dynamic country.
Let’s explore some of the most common Israeli slang words and phrases, giving you the tools you need to communicate like a local and make the most of your trip to Israel.
- Baruch Hashem – Bah-Ruch Ha-Shem – ברוך ה
Literal Translation: Blessed is God
Baruch Hashem can be used as a response to any question, from “How are you?” to “How is your new job going?” Baruch Hashem for the miracle of Israel’s return to the Holy Land!
- Achi – Ah-Chi – אחי
Literal translation: my brother
Achi is a way to say “dude,” “bro,” or to address someone whose name you don’t know.
- Sababa – Sah-Bah-Bah – סבבה
Literal translation: cool, great, okay.
Sababa is one of the most commonly used words in Hebrew, expressing enthusiasm and satisfaction. Sababa comes from the Arabic word tzababa, which means great or excellent in spoken Arabic.
- Stam – S-Tam – סתם
Literal translation: for no reason
Stam is a way to say “just kidding,” “nothing,” “no specific reason,” “just ‘cuz,” or “whatever.” Feel free to say stam anytime you forget what you’re trying to say.
- Tachles – Ta-Ch-Less – תכלס
Literal translation: in reality, bottom line
“It’s been very cool to explore Tel Aviv, but tachles, I prefer to be in Jerusalem.”
- Achla – Ach-Lah – אחלה
Literal translation: awesome, great
This word is used to describe anything that is amazing. “This hummus is achla!”
- Para Para – Pah-Rah, Pah-Rah – פרה פרה
Literal Translation: cow, cow
This interesting phrase is a way to say “take things one at a time” or “first things first.”
- Melech – Meh-lech – מלך
Literal Translation: king
Use this word to compliment someone who has done something awesome – either in general, or for you specifically. When the taxi driver helped us figure out how to have the best day in Tiberias, I said “what a melech!”
- Yalla – Yah-La – יאללה
Literal translation: let’s go, ok, cool.
Yalla is a way to say “c’mon, you got this, let’s go!” If you’re ever trying to get rid of someone, just say “Yalla, bye!”
Now you’re ready to hit the streets of Israel and talk like a local!