Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Fun Hebrew Words

Every mafia maven knows that the very worst crime someone can commit is to "rat" on someone else. (The same rule applies in the classroom too.) Over the last Yom Tov, I learned that the same value system has entered the Israeli lexicon as well. How do you say, "to rat"? (as in, "to snitch on another"): להשתנקר - l'hishtanker.
Usage: Student who threw the wad of paper in class to his friend who saw him, when the teacher turns around: אל תשתנקר עלי - al tishtanker alai - "Don't rat on me!"
What do you call someone who actually does rat on someone else? Of course, a שתינקר. (shtinker) No, I am not making this up. And I have no idea what the origins are.

Another fun Hebrew translation: How do you say "front end alignment" (in the context of auto repair)? Easy: כיוון פרונט -- kivun front. Many Hebrew terms are "borrowed" from the English.
Now guess: How do you say "rear-end alignment"? You'd think it would be כיוון אחורי - kivun achori. Only you'd be wrong. No, you say כיוון פרונט אחורי - kivun front achori, or literally, a "rear front-end alignment." Again, I don't get it. But that's what it is.
Go figure.

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