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Arabic Words in Israeli Hebrew Slang

hebrew slang arabic words in hebrew Israeli language

In the colloquial Hebrew spoken by Jewish Israelis in day to day life there are a large number of Arabic words which have become so common that a new comer to the language and the country would be forgiven for thinking that these words are Hebrew. Although most of these Arabic words used in Hebrew vernacular are slang words some have also replaced standard existing Hebrew words. There are more adopted Arabic words than English words in Israeli Hebrew, here are just a few of the Arabic words used in Israeli Hebrew that a tourist is most likely to hear.

Achlah

To express when something is good, or show agreement. For example: "How is the humus?", "Achlah!"

Walla

The closest English translation would be an exclamation of "really!" or "You don't say!" There is also a very popular Israeli Website, search engine and travel site called Walla.

Stalbat

This can either mean making fun of someone as when a group of boys picks on someone and then says:"We were just stalbeting about him." Or stalbet can mean to be sitting around hanging out or chilling.

Hufla

A hufla is a great party or a get together. This is one of those Arabic words which replace a perfectly good Hebrew word – misibah – but somehow hufla sounds like more fun. A hufla would normally involve food of some kind and music and would be loud and active as opposed to Stalbet which would be a mellow get together.

Sachten

Probably best translated as "good on you mate", or "congrates" for something new. It can also be used as "look at you then!" If someone has a new haircut, a new car or does well in a test you might say "Sachten on your haircut/car/grades".

Auto

The word auto is used by most Israelis to indicate a car, and yet the correct Hebrew word for a car is "mechonit". The two words, auto and mechonit are used interchangeably in Hebrew conversation, a new comer might go years before realizing that auto is not really the Hebrew word for car!

Sutla

Similar to stalbet sutla is sitting around, perhaps with a few drinks, chilling out.

Yoffi

Probably the most commonly used Arabic word in colloquial Hebrew. Yoffi means good fine or ok.

Ahlan 

 A greeting like shalom, hello or welcome.

Sababa 

Has come to mean ok, and indicates agreement.

Yalla 

Yalla means "let's go" in Arabic but in Hebrew slang it is used when you are trying to get someone to hurry up (normally repeated twice) "Yella, yella, let's go already!" It can also be used as "go for it what are you waiting for".

There are over 700 Arabic words that have been borrowed by the Hebrew language, and a few Hebrew words and phrases are also used in Palestinian slang

I will not go into the etymology of the Israeli language but any meeting point of these two cultures can only be a good thing.

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Comments (7)

Really interesting Petal. My second language is Turkish and there are many Arabic words in that language too, including some of your examples.

Fascinating article! I don't think I even know all the English slang!

Ranked #12 in Linguistics

Great, unusual article - I am going to use a few words now, myself, and send anyone who wants to know more of them your way (this factoidz) to learn more....Achlah!!

Interesting

cat

Interesting :)

But "yoffi" is pure Hebrew, not Arabic.

You could also add "ars" and "frekha" which are commonly used.

"Ya'ani" I've also heard (it means "meaning?")

Also, what about Hnun (????) meaning "nerd" which comes from Moroccan Arabic word for "snot" :)

Ranked #14 in Linguistics

Cat some great additions! There are so many of these words.

Sivi

cool article, but "Yoffi" is a legit word in Hebrew it means "beauty"

and the word "yafe" is apearing many times in Hebrew ancient text like the Bible (the Old Testament). In Arabic the word for pretty is Jamil/ Jamila and you see it comes fro a different root (this kind of eastern languages use roots for every word).

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