In this post we’ll discuss some slang words in Hebrew that you absolutely have to know. Some are borrowed from Arabic, some are Jewish, some are just shortened versions, and some just can barley be explained.
Sababa – סבבה
One of the most common slang words in Hebrew. Used in conversation as a word of approval, like “cool”, “awesome”, “great” and “OK”. Israeli people tend to use it so often, it should be the national word.
Achla – אחלה
Quite similar, but not exactly the same. Also used in a conversation as a word of approval. Mean “great” and “cool” as well. Probably second most-used word in Israel. If “Sababa” had the golden medal, “Achla” gets the silver one.
Yalla – יאללה
From Arabic, literally meaning, “in God”, but in a conversation, used as an urging word, like “let’s go” and “come on”. As Israeli people are very energetic (some say snappy), they use it so much, it definitely receives the bronze medal.
Kapara – כפרה
A very common word as well, used as an affectionate nickname. It doesn’t have a literal translation, but it could mean “sweetheart”, “darling” or “honey”. Can also be used in a casual, friendly way.
Tachles – תכלס
Means “actually”, or “really” or “in reality”, or “bottom line”. Used in a conversation when you want to confirm something or assure the truth about it. Like, “Yes, I love that shawarma place, but Tachles, the other one is better”.
Halas – חלאס
Literally translated to “enough”. Used in a conversation when you want to stop something or put an end to it. Like, “I know you really want falafel right now, but Halas, we’ve got work to do.”
Haval Al Hazman – חבל על הזמן
Literal translation: “shame on the time”. Sounds bad, but actually, it’s usually used in a positive context, like when you want to say that something is fantastic, hence, you don’t want to waste your time on other things. But still can be used in a negative context, when you want to say that you don’t want to waste your time on something because it isn’t worth it. It’s just Haval Al Hazman on it.
Stam – סתם
Literally can mean: “nothing”, “just kidding” or “just because”. It can even say “whatever” or “nevermind”, all depends on the context of the your sentence, which can be used a lot, almost all the time, in daily conversations.
Kal – קל
Literally means: “Easy” (or sometimes, “light”, “simple”, “soft” or “minor”, all depends on the context). Teenagers usually uses it to say that something is super easy, while dragging on the L at the end of the word. The longer they drag that short word, the easier the thing they’re describing.
Kashuach – קשוח
Literally means: “Tough”, and again, can be used to describe pretty much anything, if you’re determined enough: It was a tough class, tough ride, tough slice of pizza…
Hai Beseret – חי בסרט
The literal translation is “Lives in a movie”, but it’s supposed to describe a person that’s delusional, that lives in a fantasy, in an illusion.
Ahi – אחי
Literally translated to “brother”, or more accurately, “dude”. Can be used towards almost anyone (if you’re bold enough), your friends, your neighbor, your colleagues, your actual brothers…
Habibi – חביבי
Originally from Arabic, “my dear”. Usually used with family or close friends, but can also be used with a kind stranger (or an annoying stranger that you kindly try to insult).
Al Hakifak – על הכיפאק
Also from Arabic. Literally means, “by your preference”, but nobody uses it that way. Usually, in a conversation, it would mean “great” or “wonderful”.
Aleck – עאלק
From Arabic, one again. It is used in a conversation to doubt someone or something, like saying, “that’s not real” or “I don’t believe that/you”.
Baruch Hashem – ברוך השם
Literally means: “God bless”, or actually, “Bless God”, and it actually means: “thank God”, because everything’s alright or because other good news.
Be’ezrat Hashem – בעזרת השם
Notice here that the word “Hashem” repeats itself, Literally, it means “the name”, or God, and in this case, the expression means “with the help of God”. Like “God help us” or “let’s let the lord take care of it”.
Has VeChalila – חס וחלילה
It’s hard to give it a literal translation, but what it means is “God forbid!”, like saying, “let’s hope it doesn’t happen”. Used very often over things that no one wants to become reality.
Besha’ah Tova – בשעה טובה
Literally translated to “in a good hour”, or “in good time”, usually used when something good, usually expected, is happening.
Dash – ד”ש
Did you know Israeli people love shortening words? This one is shortening of the two words Drishat Shalom (דרישת שלום), literally translated to “send a goodbye (from me)” or, in a more accurate translation, “send my regards”.
And with that, let us end this little guide. Next time you meet someone and want them to send your regards to someone else, try ending the conversation with Dash! And generally, try to have fun with the new slang words you’ve just learned, and mess with people by slipping Kapara, Has Vechalila, and of course, Sababa, in random conversations. Enjoy!