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The Top 40 Advanced Hebrew Phrases

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In the pursuit of vocabulary, it’s easy to get caught up in individual words while looking past phrases. The reality, however, is that phrases are just as important in terms of fluency and flexibility of expression. This is true of any language you may wish to learn, but in the case of Hebrew, old as it is, even phrases used today may date back thousands of years! Indeed, Hebrew draws not only on the Bible but on the Rabbinic writings, as well, for some of the choicest and most common phrases you’ll encounter.

Notebook

Beyond the fact that many advanced Hebrew phrases are used ubiquitously, such that you’ll want to know them for comprehension’s sake, being able to use the right phrase at the right moment is one of the best ways to truly inhabit a language from within. The correct use of phrases, particularly idiomatic ones, is one of the clearest signs that you’re approaching mastery.

In today’s article, we aim to present you with a broad cross-section of the many phrases that tend to pepper modern Israelis’ speech, including academic, professional, and conversational phrases. As always, we suggest that you approach these by chunking them by category rather than by attempting to memorize them all at once. Pick a few, study and practice them, then move on to the next category and repeat. Just make sure to review them cumulatively as you move through each successive category so that you won’t forget the previous phrases you learned.

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing
  2. Power Phrases for Your Proposal, Resume, Etc.
  3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings
  4. Phrases for Everyday Use
  5. Level Up with HebrewPod101

1. Useful Phrases for Academic Writing

Woman with Head Buried in Book

Are you considering studying in Israel? If so, you’d be in good company! Israel is home to 61 higher education institutions (50 of which are government-funded) and hosts somewhere around 12,000 foreign students each year. Some of these universities, such as Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Technion in Haifa, are counted among the world’s best. If you do plan on any academic pursuits in Israel, you’ll surely want to arm yourself with these advanced Hebrew phrases for academic writing. Let’s check them out.

1. נוסף על כך
nosaf ‘al kakh
“moreover”

  • תושבי השכונה התלוננו על הזנחה, נוסף על כך בחודשים האחרונים הולכת וגוברת תופעה של נטישת מכוניות ברחבי השכונה.
    Toshavei ha-sh’khunah hitlonenu ‘al haznakhah, nosaf ‘al kakh ba-khodashim ha-akharonim holekhet ve-goveret tofa’ah shel netishat mekhoniyot be-rakhavei ha-shekhunah.
    “Residents of the neighborhood have complained of neglect. Moreover, in recent months, a growing number of vehicles have been abandoned throughout the neighborhood.”

2. ואילו
ve-ilu
“while” / “whereas”

  • הדולר נחלש, ואילו השקל שומר על יציבות.
    Ha-dolar nekhlash, ve-ilu ha-shekel shomir ‘al yetzivut.
    “The dollar has weakened, while the shekel has remained stable.”

3. חרף
kheref
“despite”

  • חרף העלייה במחירי הפירות צריכתם לא פחתה.
    Kheref ha-’aliyah be-mekhirei ha-peirot tzrikhatam lo pakhata.
    Despite the increase in the price of fruit, its consumption has not decreased.”

4. לעומת זאת
le’umat zot
“on the other hand”

  • המנהל החדש צנוע. לעומת זאת, קודמיו היו די יהירים.
    Ha-menahil he-khadash tzanu’a. Le’umat zot, kodmav hayu dei yehirim.
    “The new manager is modest. His predecessors, on the other hand, were fairly cocky.”

5. אף על פי ש…
af ‘al pi she…
“even though”

  • אנשים לא מפסיקים לעשן, אף על פי שהם ערים לנזקי העישון.
    Anashim lo mafsikim le’ashen, af ‘al pi she-hem ‘eirim le-nizkei ha-’ishun.
    “People keep smoking even though they are aware of the dangers of smoking.”

6. בניגוד לכך
be-nigud le-khakh
“in contrast”

  • ברור שכל אדם יכול להתנהג בניגוד לחוקי המדינה. בניגוד לכך, שום אדם אינו יכול להתנהג בניגוד לחוקי המשיכה.
    Barur she-kol adam yakhol lehitnaheig be-nigud le-khukei ha-medinah. Be-nigud le-khakh, shum adam eino yakhol lehitnaheig be-nigud le-khukei ha-meshikhah.
    “Obviously, anyone can defy the laws of the state. In contrast, no one can defy the laws of gravity.”

7. מפאת
mip’at
“due to”

  •  פסק הדין נדחה מפאת מחלתו של השופט.
    Psak ha-din nidkhah mip’at makhalato shel ha-shofet.
    “The ruling was postponed due to the judge’s illness.”

8. שמא
shema
“lest”

  • למדתי לא לתייג אחרים שמא יתייגו אותי.
    Lamadeti lo letayeg akheirim shema yetaygu oti.
    “I’ve learned not to label others lest they label me.”

9. בתנאי ש…
bi-tnai she…
“as long as” / “on the condition that”

  • נקנה מכונית חדשה בתנאי שהמחירים לא יעלו.
    Nikneh mekhonit khadashah bi-tnai she-ha-mekhirim lo ya’alu.
    “We’ll buy a new car as long as prices don’t go up.”

10. דהיינו
dehaynu
“i.e.”

  • אלה חומרי הריאקציה המהירים ביותר, דהיינו חומרי נפץ.
    Eleh khomrei ha-re’aktziyah ha-mehirim beyoter, dehaynu khomrei nefetz.
    “These are the fastest reactive materials, i.e., explosives.”

2. Power Phrases for Your Proposal, Resume, Etc.

Resume and Pencil

Moving from the classroom to the boardroom, let’s now have a look at some key phrases to use in the world of business. Well known as the Start-Up Nation, Israel is a prime player in the world of international business, and you may well have business dealings with Israelis. You’ll find below several advanced phrases in Hebrew that will help you leave a strong impression, whether in a business email or on your resume

11. כושר מנהיגות
kosher manhigut
“leadership ability”

  • בלי כושר מנהיגות, אף אחד לא יכול להוביל צוות בטווח הרחוק.
    Bli kosher manhigut, af ekhad lo yakhol lehovil tzevet ba-tvakh ha-rakhok.
    “Without leadership ability, no one can lead a team for the long term.”

12. תושיה
tushiyah
“wisdom”

  • תושיה היא תוצאה של שנים בעסק.
    Tushiyah hi totza’ah shel shanim ba-’esek.
    Wisdom is the result of years in the business.”

13. משמעת עצמית
mishma’at ‘atzmit
“self-discipline”

  • מצופה מכל עובד יעיל להפגין משמעת עצמית.
    Metzupeh mi-kol ‘oved ya’il lehafgin mishma’at ‘atzmit.
    “An efficient worker is expected to demonstrate self-discipline.”

14. חריצות
kharitzut
“diligence”

  • עבודה קשה וחריצות זה מתכון מושלם להצלחה.
    ‘Avodah kashah ve-kharitzut zeh matkon mushlam le-hatzlakha.
    “Hard work and diligence is the perfect recipe for success.”

15. דייקנות
daykanut
“precision” / “punctuality”

  • במשרד הזה, דייקנות, ניקיון, וסדר הם הכלל.
    Ba-misrad ha-zeh, daykanut, niykayon ve-seder hem ha-klal.
    “In this office, punctuality, cleanliness, and order are the rules.”

16. מסירות
mesirut
“commitment”

  • אנחנו מחפשים מישהו שמבין מהי מסירות למשימה אפילו למול מכשולים רבים.
    Anakhnu mekhapsim mishehu she-mevin mahi mesirut la-mesimah afilu le-mul mikhsholim rabim.
    “We’re looking for someone who understands what commitment means, even when facing many challenges.”

17. מהימנות
meheimanut
“credibility” / “reliability”

  • אל תשכח ששקר אחד קטן יכול להרוס את המהימנות שלך.
    Al tishkakh she-sheker ekhad katan yakhol laharos et ha-meheimanut shelkha.
    “Don’t forget that one little lie can ruin your credibility.”

18. אסרטיביות
aseritviyut
“assertiveness”

  • היא הצטיינה בלימודים ויודעת לעבוד, אבל חסרה לה אסרטיביות.
    Hi hitztainah ba-limudim ve-yoda’at la’avod, aval khaserah la asertivityut.
    “She graduated with honors and is a good worker, but she lacks assertiveness.”

19. סבלנות
savlanut
“patience”

  • אי אפשר לפתור בעיות קשות בלי קצת סבלנות.
    Iy efshar liftor ba’ayot kashot beli ktzat savlanut.
    “It’s impossible to solve difficult problems without a bit of patience.”

20. סובלנות
sovlanut
tolerance

  • לבעלים אין סובלנות לאלו שמאכזבים אותה.
    La-be’alim ein sovlanut le-elu she-me’akhzevim otah.
    “The owner has no tolerance for those who disappoint her.”

3. Smart Phrases for Business Meetings

Business Meeting

Assuming your business correspondence or proposal went well with your Israeli employer, clients, or partners, you’re likely to find yourself in a meeting with businesspeople chattering away in Hebrew. But fear not! The following phrases are just what you’ll need to impress those around you with your elegant handling of business Hebrew. Let’s have a look.

21. איך העסקים?
Eikh ha-‘asakim?
“How’s business?”

  • היי, גיורא. מה שלומך? איך העסקים?
    Hai, Giorah. Mah shlomkha? Eikh ha-’asakim?
    “Hi, Giora. How are you? How’s business?

 22. משא ומתן
masa u-matan
negotiations

  • בשבוע הבא אני טסה לפריז למשא ומתן מול הלקוח השוויצרי שלנו.
    Ba-shavu’a ha-ba ani tasah le-Pariz le-masa u-matan mul ha-lako’akh ha-Shveytzari shelanu.
    “Next week, I’m flying to Paris for negotiations with our Swiss client.”

 23. קומבינה
kombinah
“workaround”

  • אני יודע שהתוכנה עדיין נתקלת בשגיאות מסויימות, אבל יש לי קומבינה.
    Ani yode’a she-ha-tokhnah nitkelet be-shgi’ot mesuyamot, aval yesh li kombinah.
    “I know the program is still producing some errors, but I have a workaround.”

24. חוצפה
khutzpah
“nerve” / “gall”

  • איזה חוצפה! איך אתה מעיז להטיף לי על נימוסים?
    Eizeh khutzpah! Eikh atah mei’iz lehatif li ‘al nimusim?
    “What nerve! How dare you preach to me about manners?”

25. שפיץ
shpitz
“expert” / “whiz”

  • המהנדס שלהם פשוט שפיץ בכל מה שקשור לחשמל.
    Ha-mehandeis shelahem pashut shpitz be-khol mah she-kashur le-khashmal.
    “Their engineer is simply a whiz in all things electrical.”

26. פרוטקציה
protektziyah
“help from the inside”

  • בחיים לא נוכל להיכנס לשוק בסין בלי איזושהי פרוטקציה.
    Ba-khayim lo nukhal lehikanes la-shuk be-Sin beli eizoshehi protektziyah.
    “We’ll never be able to penetrate the Chinese market without some sort of help from the inside.”

27. מה נסגר?
Mah nisgar?
“What’s the deal?”

  • מה נסגר? אנחנו מחכים לך במשרד כבר שעתיים.
    Mah nisgar? Anakhnu mekhakim lakh ba-misrad kvar sha’atayim.
    What’s the deal? We’ve been waiting for you at the office for two hours already.”

28. סדר יום
seder yom
“agenda”

  • זהירות עם הלקוח, יש לו סדר יום משלו.
    Zehirut ‘im ha-lako’ak. Yeish lo seder yom mishelo.
    “Watch out with the client. He’s got his own agenda.”

29. כל הכבוד
kol ha-kavod
“kudos”

  • הרבעון הזה היה הטוב ביותר שלנו מאז ומתמיד. כל הכבוד לכם!
    Ha-riv’on ha-zeh hayah ha-tov beyoter shelanu mei-az u-mi-tamid. Kol ha-kavod lakhem!”
    “This quarter was our best yet. Kudos to all of you!”

30. נראה לי
nir’ah li
“it seems to me…”

  • נראה לי שכבר ראינו את הדו”ח הזה בשנה שעברה.
    Nir’ah li she-kvar ra’inu et ha-do”kh ha-zeh ba-shanah she-’avrah.
    It seems to me that we already saw this report last year.”

4. Phrases for Everyday Use

Word Magnets

Last but not least, let’s look at some advanced-level Hebrew phrases you can draw on during your everyday interactions. While there is no specific category for these, they are all common idioms that are guaranteed to lend your Hebrew that extra edge of authenticity for some street cred. A word to the wise, though: Use these expressions with caution. While a well-chosen idiom can garner admiration from even the toughest edge of Israelis, a poorly timed one—or, worse yet, one that isn’t appropriate for the situation—can easily backfire.

31. חבל על הזמן
khaval ‘al ha-zman
“it would be a waste of time talking about it (it’s so good/bad)”

  • ניסית פעם את הפלאפל שם בפינה? חבל על הזמן!
    Nisita pa’am et ha-falafel sham ba-pinah? Khaval ‘al ha-zman!
    “Have you ever tried the falafel on the corner there? (It’s so good) it would be a waste of time talking about it.

32. כואב לי הלב
ko’ev li ha-lev
“it breaks my heart”

  • כואב לי הלב אבל אני חייב לזוז.
    Ko’ev li ha-lev aval ani khayav lazuz.
    It breaks my heart, but I’ve got to get going.”

33. לך על זה
lekh ‘al zeh
“go for it”

  • מישהו רצה את המשולש האחרון?
    Mishehu ratzah et ha-meshulash ha-akharon?
    “Did anyone want the last slice?”
  • לך עז זה!
    Lekh ‘al zeh!
    Go for it!

34. אין לי מושג
ein li musag
“I have no clue”

  • אין לי מושג איך להפעיל את המכשיר הזה.
    Ein li musag eikh lehaf’il et ha-makhshir ha-zeh.
    I have no clue how to use this device.”

35. בשיא לשון הבקשה
be-si leshon ha-bakashah
“I’m begging you”

  • בשיא לשון הבקשה, הנמך את המוסיקה ותן לישון.
    Be-si leshon ha-bakashah, hanmekh et ha-musikah ve-ten lishon.
    I’m begging you, turn down the music and let me sleep.”

36. לא דובים ולא יער
lo dubim ve-lo ya’ar
“nothing of the sort”

  • אמרו לי בבנק שאקבל זיכוי תוך שבוע ימים. לא דובים ולא יער!
    Amru li ba-bank she-akabeil zikui tokh shavu’a yamim. Lo dubim ve-lo ya’ar!
    “They told me at the bank that I’d receive the credit within a week. Nothing of the sort!”

37. מה, אתה עובד עלי?
Mah, atah ‘oved ‘alai?
“What, are you kidding me?”

  • אתה אומר שאנחנו עוד פעם הולכים לקלפי? מה, אתה עובד עליי?
    Atah omer she-anakhnu ’od pa’am holkhim la-kalfi? Mah, atah oved ‘alai?
    “You’re saying we’re headed to elections yet again? What, are you kidding me?

38. נראה לך הגיוני?
Nireh lekha hegyoni?
“What were you thinking?”

  • נראה לך הגיוני לחנות מאחורי הכניסה לחנייה שלי?
    Nir’ah lekha hegyoni lakhanot me’akhorei ha-knisah la-khanayah sheli?
    What were you thinking, parking in front of the entrance to my driveway?”

39. מי אמר אני ולא קיבל?
Mi amar ani ve-lo kibel?
“Who did I miss?”

  • יש לי עוד כמה שוברים לחלק. מי אמר אני ולא קיבל?
    Yesh li ‘od kamah shovarim lekhalek. Mi amar ani ve-lo kibel?
    “I have a few more coupons to give out. Who did I miss?

40. כפרה עליך
kaparah ‘aleikha
“my darling/dear”

  • כפרה עליך, איך התגעגעתי אליך!
    Kaparah ‘aleikha, eikh hitga’aga’ti elekha!
    My dear, how I missed you!”

    *Note that this can be used for either a male or a female, and it does not typically bear any romantic connotation.

5. Level Up with HebrewPod101

That’s it for today’s lesson. We hope you’ve enjoyed these advanced Hebrew phrases for taking your Hebrew into the next phase. Remember that learning a language is a lifelong endeavor, and there is always room for improvement and growth. While these phrases are just the tip of the iceberg as far as Hebrew idioms go, they are definitely a solid start.

Have you come across any phrases that you didn’t see here but would like help understanding? Or are you still scratching your head over how to use one of the phrases included in today’s article? Don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know! We at HebrewPod101 are always happy to help. Our team of experts will get back to you with feedback. And who knows? You might just inspire our next lesson.

Until then, shalom!

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The Top 40 Intermediate Hebrew Phrases

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As you progress from a beginner to an intermediate level of Hebrew, you’ll no doubt want to expand your vocabulary so you can both understand and express more language. While anything that adds words to your repertoire is welcome, studying contextualized language based on its function or the circumstances in which it’s generally used can be greatly helpful to language students.

Rather than randomly choosing words out of the dictionary or from the pages of a newspaper or book, we here at HebrewPod101.com have put together a handy list of the top forty intermediate Hebrew phrases, grouped together by category: phrases for speaking about the past, phrases for making recommendations and complaints, phrases for reacting during a conversation, and more. We’ve also included examples of how to use these phrases in realistic contexts.

While forty may not sound like a huge number, we do recommend studying these phrases in chunks. The simplest way to do so is by category, but you could organize them differently if you feel so inclined. The key is not to overwhelm yourself and to commit to periodic reviews of the new words and phrases you acquire; this will ensure long-term retention and rapid recall.

Keeping this in mind, let’s have a look at the top forty Hebrew phrases at the intermediate level.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Talking About Past Events
  2. Making and Changing Plans
  3. Giving Reasons
  4. Making Recommendations and Complaints
  5. Everyday Reactions
  6. General Etiquette
  7. Up Your Game with HebrewPod101

1. Talking About Past Events

Cave Paintings

Did you know that human language contains a unique feature not found in animal communication systems? This feature is called “displacement,” and it refers to the ability to talk about things that aren’t concrete objects in front of our eyes. This includes not only abstract concepts like love and honor, but also points in time outside of the present. 

Hebrew is a bit simpler than many European languages in that it only really has one past tense (the simple past). That said, one could argue that Hebrew makes up for its lack of variety in tenses with its great flexibility in how the past can be discussed. For example, as you’ll see below, Hebrew has a special word that means “last night”—אמש (emesh). Let’s have a look at some other words and phrases for discussing the past.

1. היה … אתמול/אמש.
Hayah… etmol/emesh.
“It was … yesterday/last night.” / “Yesterday/last night was…” / “I had … yesterday/last night.”

  • היה כיף אמש במסיבה.
    Hayah keif emesh ba-mesibah.
    It was fun last night at the party.”
  • היה לי יום נפלא אתמול בעיר העתיקה.
    Hayah li yom nifla etmol ba-’ir ha-’atikah.
    I had a great day yesterday in the old city.”

2. לפני … ימים/שבועות/חודשים/שנים
Lifnei … yamim/shavu’ot/khodashim/shanim
“… days/weeks/months/years ago”

  • הגעתי לארץ לפני שלושה שבועות.
    Higa’ti la-Aretz lifnei shloshah shavu’ot.
    “I got to Israel three weeks ago.”
  • לפני עשרה ימים, התחלתי תוכנית אימונים חדשה בחדר הכושר.
    Lifnei ‘asarah yamim, hitkhalti tokhnit imunim khadashah be-khadar ha-kosher.
    Ten days ago, I started a new workout plan at the gym.”

3. מעולם/בחיים לא
Me’olam/Ba-khayim sheli lo
“Never” [*note the double negative in Hebrew]

  • מעולם לא עשיתי צניחה חופשית.
    Le’olam lo ‘asiti tzenikhah khofshit.
    “I have never skydived.”
  • בחיים לא הכרתי מישהו כל כך מעניין כמו המורה שלנו לעברית.
    Ba-khayim lo hikarti mishehu kol kakh me’anyein kemo ha-moreh shelanu le-’Ivrit.
    “I’ve never met anyone as interesting as our Hebrew teacher.”

4. פעם
Pa’am
“Once”

  • פעם האמנתי לך, אבל היום כבר לא.
    Pa’am he’emanti lakh, aval hayom kvar lo.
    Once I would have believed you, but no longer.”
  • פעם חלמתי להיות עורכת דין, אבל אז גיליתי את הבלשנות.
    Pa’am khalamti lihiyot ‘orekhet din, aval az giliti et ha-balshanut.
    “I once dreamt of being a lawyer, but then I discovered linguistics.”

5. בעבר
Be’avar
“In the past” / “… used to”

  • קראתי המון ספרים בעבר, אבל עכשיו כבר אין לי זמן.
    Karati hamon sefarim be’avar, aval ‘akhshav kvar ein li zman.
    “I used to read a lot of books, but I don’t have the time anymore.”
  • היינו שם בעבר אבל אני לא זוכר מתי.
    Hayinu sham ba’avar aval ani lo zokheir matai.
    “We’ve been there in the past, but I don’t remember when.”

2. Making and Changing Plans

Man Looking at Schedule

Now that we’ve looked at the past a bit, let’s turn our attention to the future. Below, you’ll find some highly useful phrases for discussing plans, including changing them. Remember that Hebrew, unlike English, does not use tense to indicate intended or expected actions. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to which phrases you can use to express future plans with different connotations and in different contexts. The following intermediate phrases in Hebrew should be a great place to start. 

6. בא לך ל…
Ba lekha/lakh/lakhem/lakhen l…
“Do you feel like…” / “Are you up for…”

  • בא לך לצאת למסעדה?
    Ba lekha latzet le-mis’adah?
    Do you feel like going out to a restaurant?”
  • בא לך לראות סרט אצלי בבית?
    Ba lakh lirot seret eitzli ba-bayit?
    Are you up for watching a movie at my house?”

7. אתה מצטרף/את מצטרפת אליי ל…?
Atah mitztareif/At mitztarefet elai l…?
“Will you join me for/at…?”

  • את מצטרפת אליי למסעדה איטלקית לארוחת ערב?
    At metztarefet elai le-mis’adah Italkit le-arukhat ‘erev?
    Will you join me at an Italian restaurant for dinner?”
  • אתה מצטרף אליי להרצאה על הגשמה עצמית?
    Atah mitztareif elai lehartza’ah ‘al hagshamah ‘atzmit?
    Will you join me for a lecture on self-realization?”

8. … אתה יכול/את יכולה לבוא…?
Atah yakhol/at yekholah lavo…?
“Can … come (along)?”

  • את יכולה לבוא איתי למרכז העיר?
    At yekholah lavo iti le-merkaz ha’ir?
    Can you come downtown with me?”
  • אתה יכול לבוא לקפה עכשיו?
    Atah yakhol lavo la-kafeh ‘akhshav?
    Can you come to the café now?”

9. האם נוכל לדחות…?
Ha’im nukhal lidkhot…?
“Can we postpone…?

  • האם נוכל לדחות את הפגישה לשבוע הבא?
    Ha’im nukhal lidkhot et ha-pgishah le-shavu’a haba?
    Can we postpone the meeting till next week?”

10. בוא/י נקבע ל…
Bo/Bo’i nikba’ le…
“Let’s schedule/set a time for…”

  • בואי נקבע ליום שלישי ב-16:00.
    Bo’i nikba’ le-Yom Shlishi be-’arba ba-tzohorayim.
    Let’s schedule for Wednesday at four p.m.”

3. Giving Reasons

Woman Making Questioning Gesture

Another useful category of phrases for intermediate Hebrew learners consists of those used for giving reasons. Once you’ve gotten comfortable explaining yourself in a more basic way, you’ll want to be able to give people your reason(s) for doing or saying something—especially with such inquisitive conversation mates as Israelis! You can expect us to ask “why” about pretty much everything, in fact! Here are some of the top phrases you can use to explain your reasons or reasoning.

11. …בגלל ש…
…biglal she…
“…because…”

  • פניתי אליך בגלל שאת נראית לי סימפטית וקשובה.
    Paniti elaiyikh biglal she-at nir’et li simpatit ve-kashuvah.
    “I came to you because you seem agreeable and attentive.”
  • הגענו באיחור בגלל שהנהג הלך לאיבוד ולא רצה לבקש הכוונה.
    Higa’nu be-ikhur biglal she-ha-nahag halakh le-ibud ve-lo ratzah levakesh hakhvanah.
    “We arrived late because the driver got lost and didn’t want to ask for directions.”

12. התכוונתי…
Hitkavanti…
“I meant/intended to…”

  • התכוונתי להגיע לתערוכה אבל האוטו שלי התקלקל.
    Hitkavanti lehagi’a la-ta’arukhah aval ha-oto sheli hitkalkeil.
    I meant to go to the exhibition, but my car broke down.”

13. חשבתי ש…
Khashavti she…
“I thought that…”

  • חשבתי שתהיה עייף אז קניתי לך קפה בדרך.
    Khashavti she-tihiyeh ‘ayef az kaniti lekha kafeh ba-derekh.
    I thought that you would be tired, so I bought you a coffee on the way.”

14. אתה חייב/את חייבת להבין ש…
Atah khayav/At khayevet lehavin she…
“You must understand that…”

  • את חייבת להבין שניסיתי להתקשר, אבל הקו היה כל הזמן תפוס.
    At khayevet lehavin she-nisiti lehitkasher, aval ha-kav hayah kol ha-zman tafus.
    You must understand that I tried calling, but the line was constantly busy.”
  • אני מבין שאתה כועס אבל אתה חייב להבין שזה לא היה בכוונה.
    Ani mevin she-atah co’es, aval atah khayav lehavin she-zeh lo hayah be-khavanah.
    “I understand that you’re upset, but you must understand that it was unintentional.”

15. לא סתם…
Lo stam…
“… for nothing” / “It’s no coincidence that…”

  • לא סתם קוראים לו דוקטור. הוא יודע על מה הוא מדבר.
    Lo stam kor’im lo doktor. Hu yode’a ‘al mah hu medaber.
    “They don’t call him ‘doctor’ for nothing. He knows what he’s talking about.”

4. Making Recommendations and Complaints

Man Talking to Waiter at Restaurant

Another key category of intermediate Hebrew phrases consists of those related to making recommendations or complaints. There is no end to the situations in Israeli life where you’ll find yourself wishing to complain. And it goes without saying that part of the Israeli way is offering advice—including recommendations—whether invited to do so or not!

16. ניסית פעם…?
Nisita’/nisit pa’am…?
“Have you ever tried…?”

  • ניסית פעם אוכל קוריאני? זה טעים ממש!
    Nisita pa’am okhel Kore’ani? Ze ta’im mamash!
    Have you ever tried Korean food? It’s really tasty!”

17. אני מציע/ה…
Ani metzi’a/metzi’ah…
“I recommend/suggest…”

  • בהתחשב במזג האוויר, אני מציעה שנשאר בבית ונבשל משהו.
    Behitkhasheiv be-mezeg ha-avir, ani metzi’ah she-nisha’er ba-bayit ve-nevashel mashehu.
    “In light of the weather, I suggest that we stay at home and cook something.”

18. כדאי לך לנסות…
Kedai lekha/lakh lenasot…
“You ought to try…”

  • אם את אוהבת אתגרים, כדאי לך לנסות טיפוס הרים.
    Im at ohevet etgarim, kedai lakh lenasot tipus harim.
    “If you like challenges, you ought to try mountain climbing.”

19.לצערי / צר לי לומר ש…
Le’tsa’ari…. / tsar li lomar she-…
“I’m sorry to say that…” / “Unfortunately…”

  • לצערי הטיול שלנו לא היה מי יודע מה.
    Le’tsa’ari ha-tiyul shelanu lo hayah mi yodei’a mah.
    I’m sorry to say that our trip wasn’t that great.”
  • צר לי לומר שאתה לא הטיפוס שלי.
    Tzar li lomar she-atah lo ha-tipus sheli.
    Unfortunately, you’re not my type.”

20. אני לא ממליץ/ממליצה על …
Ani lo mamlitz/mamlitzah ‘al…
“I don’t recommend…”

  • אני לא ממליץ על כביש החוף. הוא תמיד עמוס בשעות האלה.
    Ani lo mamlitz ‘al kvish ha-khof. Hu tamid ‘amus ba-sha’ot ha-eleh.
    I don’t recommend the coastal road. It’s always backed up at this hour.”

5. Everyday Reactions

Dancer in Bewildering Pose

This category differs somewhat to the previous ones in that it’s a grab bag of reactions that you could use in everyday conversations. They are quite versatile and can take on different connotations depending on how and when you use them. But that’s all the more reason to experiment with them and see how your conversation partners respond.

21. נהדר
Nehedar
“Great”

  • -קיבלתי 10 במבחן הסופי!
    נהדר! כל הכבוד!
    Kibalti ‘eser ba-mivkhan ha-sofi!
    Nehedar! Kol ha-kavod!
    -“I got an A on the final exam.”
    -“Great! Way to go!”

22. מעולה
Me’uleh
“Wonderful”

  • -איך תה הצמחים שלך?
    -מעולה! טעים מאוד.
    -“How’s your herbal tea?”
    -“Wonderful! Really tasty.”

23. חבל
Khaval
“What a shame”

  • -יובל אמר שבסוף הוא לא בא לאסוף אותנו.
    חבל. אז נצטרך להזמין מונית.
    -Yuval amar she-ba’sof hu lo ba le’esof otanu.
    Khaval! Az nitztareikh lehazmin monit.
    -“Yuval said that in the end, he isn’t coming to pick us up.”
    -“What a shame. Now we’ll need to order a taxi.”

24. איזה כיף
Eizeh kef
“Cool” / “What fun”

  • -אתה מוזמן לבלות את הסופ”ש אצלנו בקיבוץ.
    איזה כיף. להביא בגדי ים?
    -Atah muzman levalot et ha-sofash etzleinu ba-kibbutz.
    Eizeih kef. Lehavi beged yam?
    -“You’re invited to spend the weekend with us on the kibbutz.”
    -“What fun. Should I bring a bathing suit?”

25. איזה באסה
Eizeh ba’asah
“What a bummer”

  • -שמעת שביטלו את ההופעה בגלל המגיפה?
    -כן, איזה באסה. דווקא רציתי ללכת.
    -Shama’t she-bitlu et ha-hofa’ah biglal ha-magefah?
    -Kein, eizeh ba’asah. Davkah ratziti lalekhet.
    -“Did you hear that they canceled the show due to the pandemic?”
    -“Yes, what a bummer. I really wanted to go.”

26. מה אתה אומר/את אומרת?
Mah atah omer/at omeret?
“You don’t say.”

  • -ידעת שיש לי אח תאום?
    מה אתה אומר? אתם זהים?
    -Yada’t she-yesh li akh te’om?
    Mah atah omer? Atem zehim?
    -“Did you know that I have a twin brother?”
    -“You don’t say. Are you identical?”

27. וואלה?
Wallah?
“Really?” / “Is that so?”

  • -השבוע קיבלתי הצעת עבודה מחברה בלונדון.
    וואלה? מגניב.
    -Hashavu’a kibalti hatza’at ‘avodah mi-khevrah be-London.
    Wallah? Magniv.
    -“This week, I got a job offer from a company in London.”
    -“Is that so? That’s great.”

28. נו?
Nu?
“So?” / “What of it?”

  • -שמעת את החדשות הבוקר?
    -כן, נו?
    -שוב הולכים לבחירות!
    -Shama’ta et ha-khadashot ha-boker?
    -Ken, nu?
    -Shuv holkhim le-b’khirot!
    -“Did you hear the news this morning?”
    -“Yeah, so?
    -“We’re having yet another round of elections.”

29. מה זה קשור?
Mah zeh kashur?
“What has that got to do with it/anything?”

  • -אתה צמחוני, נכון? אז הבאתי לך ספר על צמחים.
    מה זה קשור? אני צמחוני, לא גנן.
    -Atah tzimkhoni, nakhon? Az heveiti lekha sefer ‘al tzmakhim.
    Mah zeh kashur. Ani tzimkhoni, lo ganan.
    -“You’re a vegetarian, right? So I brought you a book on plants.”
    -“What has that got to do with anything? I’m a vegetarian, not a gardener.”

30. ומה אתה רוצה/את שאני אעשה?
Ve-mah atah rotzeh/at rotzah she-ani e’eseh?
“What do you want me to do?”

  • -שוטר, הבחור שם מפצח גרעינים ברחוב.
    -נו? מה את רוצה שאני אעשה?
    -Shoter, ha-bakhur sham mefatze’akh gar’inim ba-rekhov.
    -Nu? Mah at rotzah she-ani e’eseh?
    -“Officer, that guy there is spitting seeds onto the street.”
    -“So? What do you want me to do?

6. General Etiquette

Last but not least, let’s look at some intermediate Hebrew phrases that can help you with your etiquette. Granted, as anyone who knows anything about Israel is sure to be aware of, Israelis are not world-famous for being polite. But that doesn’t mean you can’t earn some brownie (or halva) points for displaying a basic degree of etiquette and manners. In fact, maybe you’ll get lucky and rub it off on some Sabras! Here are some phrases you can use to add a bit of politeness to any conversation.

35. בתיאבון!
Be-te’avon!
“Bon appetit!”

36. ברוך הבא/ברוכה הבאה/ברוכים הבאים!
Barukh ha-ba/Brukhah ha-ba’ah/Brukhim ha-ba’im!
“Welcome!”

37. הרגש/י בבית.
Targish/Targishi ba-bayit.
“Make yourself at home.”

38. בשמחה.
Be-simkhah.
“Gladly.”

39. נהיה בקשר.
Nihiyeh be-kesher.
“We’ll be in touch.”

40. נסיעה טובה.
Nesi’ah tova.
“Have a good trip.”

7. Up Your Game with HebrewPod101

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson on intermediate Hebrew phrases. Remember to practice and review them to ensure they “stick.” By the same token, don’t overwhelm yourself. Just focus on a few phrases at a time, and soon enough, you’ll have them all under your belt.

Are you finding yourself perplexed over one of the phrases or examples we’ve provided? Are there any phrases you know that aren’t here but which you think should be? We love to hear from our learners, so please don’t hesitate to contact us; someone on our team of Hebrew pros will do his or her best to help address your concern.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 10 Hebrew Podcasts to Improve Your Language Skills

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Most people know that the best recipe for mastering a foreign language is immersion. This means exposing yourself to the language as much as possible, and it’s typically associated with living in a country where that language is spoken so you can really live it: listening to it on the radio, reading it in the news, speaking and hearing it in cafés, etc.

But even if you don’t have the resources to move abroad, Hebrew podcasts can be particularly helpful for you. Israel is the only country where Hebrew is an official language, even though you can find Hebrew-speaking Israelis all over the world. The reality is that it’s not always feasible for Hebrew learners to travel to Israel due to its geographic distance and/or travel costs. But don’t worry! Listening to a Hebrew podcast or two can simulate language immersion by enveloping you in the Hebrew language—without you ever needing to leave home.

In Hebrew, a podcast is sometimes just called a פודקאסט (podcast), but the proper Hebrew word for it is הסכת (hesket). Not only are podcasts real, live examples of Hebrew being used in its natural habitat, but they can also be a refreshing change of pace from grammar lessons and vocabulary lists. Indeed, listening to podcasts can be a surprisingly effective method for improving your Hebrew—not in spite of their low-pressure, non-academic nature but rather because of it. As you lend your ear to the grammar, vocabulary, and speech patterns of native Hebrew speakers, you’ll find that elements of language usage just seem to seep in.

Woman with Headphones On

All that being said, there are some important considerations to bear in mind when approaching Hebrew podcasts as learning aids. Let’s have a look at some general information on how podcasts can help language learners and some tips on how best to use them to your advantage. Then, we’ll check out the top 10 Hebrew podcasts, complete with an overview of the level and focus of each one.

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  1. How can podcasts help you learn Hebrew?
  2. What can you do to get the most out of podcasts?
  3. The Top 10 Hebrew Podcasts for Language Learners
  4. It’s called HebrewPod101 for a reason!

1. How can podcasts help you learn Hebrew?

Audio Waves

As mentioned, the most effective way to acquire a foreign language is through immersion. We can define immersion in both a positive sense and a negative sense: positive in terms of exposing yourself to as much Hebrew as possible, and negative in terms of limiting how much you use your native language or any other language but Hebrew.

The best way to achieve this is simply by spending time in Israel, where Hebrew is the language of everyday life. In fact, other than particular expat enclaves, Arab neighborhoods, and other specific contexts, you would be hard-pressed not to get a vast amount of exposure to Hebrew by just placing yourself within the borders of Israel.

There’s no arguing that this is the most effective and authentic way to study Hebrew in earnest, but for many, it is simply not a possibility. Whether you cannot afford to travel or to take time off, or you simply wish to work on your Hebrew before taking a trip to Israel, you’re lucky to live in an age where, thanks to the proliferation of Hebrew media, Israel can come to you.

Elsewhere on HebrewPod101.com, we’ve talked about using music, movies, and TV shows to garner more exposure to genuine Hebrew. But now, let’s see how podcasts specifically can contribute to achieving your language learning goals.

Woman in radio studio with microphone
  1. Tuning in to Hebrew podcasts is a great way to passively boost your listening skills. While it may not feel like you’re really learning in the traditional sense, as you will not be given homework or exams, trust us when we say that just listening to authentic Hebrew will go a long way toward honing your listening comprehension. And the more you listen, the more you’ll learn—much of the time without even noticing that any learning is going on! You’ll just suddenly realize that you comprehend that much more of what a speaker is saying, or that you can understand a word you thought you’d never seen before.
  1. Your vocabulary will grow by leaps and bounds. Because you’ll be listening to native speakers in a more natural context (rather than teachers in a classroom), you’ll benefit from exposure to the full range of vocabulary a native Israeli would use to express themself: slang, jargon, and other linguistic elements that you may not find in academic resources for language learners.
  1. You will get contextualized grammar to model real-life usage. While textbooks typically have examples to model the grammar points being taught, listening to podcasts means you’ll hear how Hebrew grammar works as a matter of course, but without being bashed over the head with grammar rules and repetitive drills. In other words, you’ll naturally reinforce grammar points you’ve already learned and may very well extrapolate new grammar features just by hearing them used multiple times.
  1. Your pronunciation will flourish. This one is a bit more personal, as some people struggle more than others in this regard. Depending on your native language and your own ability to mimic foreign phoneme production, you may find it more or less difficult to produce the proper pronunciation of Hebrew words. Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly strong in terms of reproducing natural-sounding pronunciation, you’ll at the very least come to comprehend it far better simply by exposing yourself to natural Hebrew speech.

2. What can you do to get the most out of podcasts?

Woman Playing Record in Studio

Now that we’ve seen how Hebrew podcasts can aid you in your language learning endeavors, let’s see some of the ways you can ensure you reap all the benefits they have to offer. Obviously, any Hebrew exposure is better than none. But there are certainly some tips that can help you pick the right podcasts for you, as well as some guidelines on how to use them effectively in the context of studying Hebrew as a foreign language.

  1. Pick the right level. This is, admittedly, somewhat trickier than choosing a study course or textbook, as most podcasts tend not to be graded by level. That said, simple common sense is your friend. For example, a podcast on general-knowledge topics or on subject matter you’re already familiar with will be easier to follow than podcasts on highly specialized topics full of jargon and esoteric information.

    Additionally, the host can have a huge impact on how easy or difficult the podcast is to follow. How fast do they speak? How clearly do they enunciate? What register are they using (e.g., formal vs. informal, academic vs. street talk, etc.)? The same is true for podcasts with guests. While multiple guests will mean more exposure to more speakers, it’s also likely to represent an additional challenge.

    You want to pick a level that feels challenging, but not overly so. Even if you can only get the gist of what’s being talked about, you’re doing fine as long as you feel you’re more or less keeping up. Don’t listen to anything that’s too easy, but also steer away from podcasts that leave you dumbfounded.

  1. Choose podcasts on topics that interest you. Podcasts should be an enjoyable learning aid rather than a frustrating one. For that reason, it’s best to seek out podcasts on themes you enjoy and maybe even know a bit about. This will help connect to top-down knowledge you already have, empowering you to focus chiefly on language acquisition without having to scratch your head over the subject matter itself. Whatever you do, don’t listen to anything that bores you!

  1. Mix it up. Whether you listen to a mix of podcasts or simply find one that’s a variety show, the important thing is to ensure you’re getting varied exposure. The reasons are obvious. The more you listen to Hebrew speakers talking about a range of topics, the more your vocabulary specifically and language knowledge in general will grow.

    Radio Tower
    1. Have a notepad handy. Just because you’re not in a classroom where you’ll be getting a grade doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the most of every chance to learn. Jotting down a few new words from each podcast to review and quiz yourself on later is a great way to ensure you’ll ultimately retain them. If you’re unsure of a word’s spelling, don’t fret. Just write it down the way you think it sounds, and ask a teacher or an Israeli friend for help later.

    1. Set a schedule, more or less. While it isn’t essential to tune in to every episode of a podcast, it’s a good idea to have some sort of regimen to go with your Hebrew podcast listening. If you can fit in a daily podcast during your commute or over breakfast, that’s great. But even three or four times a week can go a long way toward boosting your language abilities.

    3. The Top 10 Hebrew Podcasts for Language Learners

    Boy with Headphones and Radio

    Now that we’ve seen how podcasts can help you learn Hebrew and discussed some of the best ways to use them, let’s check out this carefully curated list of the top 10 Hebrew podcasts for learners. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive; quite the contrary. There is a wealth of podcasts in the Hebrew language on just about every topic under the sun, so consider this a springboard to discovery.

    1. HebrewPod101
      HebrewPod101 Logo with Woman Wearing Headphones

      While we don’t mean to toot our own horn, we at HebrewPod101 diligently work to produce a broad range of podcasts on many different topics. And in our case specifically, we record every podcast episode with Hebrew learners in mind! For this reason, HebrewPod101 can be a great place to start. Our podcasts cover all levels, and they touch on everything from grammar points and vocabulary to general tips for effective learning, Israeli and Jewish culture, and much more.

    1. KAN Hesketim
    Stack of Textbooks

    This is actually not one podcast but a whole range of podcasts put out by KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation. Topics span the gamut from popular culture and current events to the Bible and Jewish history, while individual episodes can be as short as 10 minutes and as long as an hour and a half. This is a great plus, as you can choose a podcast to fit whatever time you have available.

    KAN Hesketim podcasts tend to be somewhat “newsy”: hosts speak in the flowery, clearly enunciated, and rather old-fashioned style typical of mainstream Israeli newscasters. This can be helpful in terms of your comprehension, but, on the other hand, it’s not always representative of how most Israelis actually speak. For this reason, it’s hard to recommend it for a specific level. Rather, try listening to a bunch of different podcasts until you find one that feels comfortable for you.

  1. Mayeshbeze

    Mayeshbeze, or ?מה יש בזה (Mah yesh be-zeh?) in Hebrew, literally means “What’s in it?” but is something more akin to, “What’s this all about?” Described as an “historic-comic podcast series,” it’s hosted by Kobi Melamed and Elad Itzhakian. Each week, they discuss a random true event from history that is in some way comical, strange, and/or hard to believe. For example, one episode deals with the infamous case of Liebeck vs. McDonald’s Restaurants, in which Stella Liebeck sued McDonald’s after burning her pelvic region with a cup of its coffee.

    While they use the informal register, the hosts do tend to speak at a fast clip, so this can be challenging for beginner-level Hebrew learners. On the other hand, an extra plus to the podcast is that the hosts typically schmooze about random things for a few minutes before plunging into the historical case on tap for the day—something of a lightweight pregame before the show starts in earnest.

  1. Israel Story
    Israeli Flag

    Israel Story, or סיפור ישראלי (Sipur Yisra’eli) in Hebrew, has been self-described as an Israeli counterweight to This American Life. It focuses on “extraordinary tales about ordinary Israelis” while shying away from divisive issues like politics, making this podcast all about the human angle. Indeed, it strives to portray Israeli life and Israelis with all of the diversity and color that goes with them.

    Stories are told in a fairly casual manner, so as long as you’re comfortable with the host, you don’t have to worry about sesquipedalians or arcana. Just like This American Life, the episodes in this podcast comprise multiple stories linked by a common theme. While the podcast has also been available in English since 2014, in collaboration with Tablet magazine, we recommend you challenge yourself to try it out in Hebrew before you check it out in English!

  1. Reshet Osim Historia
    Open Book

    Reshet Osim Historia, or רשת עושים היסטוריה in Hebrew, means “Making History Network” but it comprises much more than just historically minded podcasts. Like KAN Hesketim, Reshet Osim Historia is a large—according to its own website, the largest—podcast network. You can find an immense range of podcasts in Hebrew on various topics, at different difficulty levels, and of varying durations.

    The offerings are so broad that the website even includes a מדריך הפודקאסטים (Madrikh ha-Podkastim) or “Podcast Guide.” This can help you find just the right podcast for you by providing the name, link, RSS, and category for each podcast it hosts, as well as a brief description. With such a wide selection, you’re sure to find a podcast (or five) that suits you.

  1. Hebrew Podcasts

    This is one of the few Hebrew podcast websites directly aimed at language learners. As such, it offers themed lessons based on things like vocabulary categories or specific grammar points. The site labels each podcast by level, and each podcast comes with additional resources such as flashcards and quizzes. However, unlike the other sites we’ve listed so far, this one is not free but subscription-based.

  1. Hebrew Survival Phrases

    Just as its name suggests, this one is similar to those thin-spined phrasebooks printed for travelers. It offers podcast-style lessons that cover essential words and phrases for use in specific situations and contexts, such as greeting strangers or ordering at a restaurant. Though the Hebrew Survival Phrases podcast does not rank its content by level, the episodes are ordered, meaning you’ll probably get the most out of them if you follow them sequentially. You can either listen to the podcasts right on the website or download them for later.

  1. LearnHebrewPod

    Another educational site, LearnHebrewPod focuses on helping Hebrew language learners with their listening and speaking skills. All the lessons are in podcast format and cover everyday topics like family, travel, hobbies, food, and more. There’s also a separate section focused on teaching Jewish prayers, as well as guides on the Hebrew alphabet.

    The main part of the website centers on podcast episodes that follow an Israeli, Jonathan, around in his daily life, which it uses as an entrée to various learning opportunities in real-life contexts. Note that this is another subscription-based option.

  1. Streetwise Hebrew
    Israeli Shekel

    This Hebrew learning podcast, hosted by Guy Sharett, is a great option if you’re pressed for time and just want to squeeze in a quick Hebrew fix. Episodes are about five to 15 minutes long and focus on one topic, such as a specific word or expression. The podcast centers on idiomatic Hebrew, often illustrated via an interesting or funny anecdote.

  1. Criminal Record Podcast
    Man in Handcuffs

    Last but not least, let’s face it: We all love crime stories. The Criminal Record Podcast, or עבר פלילי (‘Avar Plili) “Criminal Record” in Hebrew, is a series of episodes presented by Israeli criminologist Dana Hilman. Lasting half an hour to an hour, each episode delves into the lurid details of some dark crime past or present, some in Israel and others elsewhere in the world.

    A nice advantage is that the speech used tends to be slow and clearly enunciated for dramatic effect, making it easier to follow along. An additional bonus is that episodes include interviews with people involved in investigating the crimes under discussion.


4. It’s called HebrewPod101 for a reason!

As you can see, podcasts are a fantastic learning aid that can simulate immersion from anywhere. Podcasts cover diverse topics, offer access to real native speakers, and span a broad array of difficulty levels, lengths, and registers. But what all podcasts have in common is that they are on-demand, meaning you can use them whenever and as often as you wish, at your own pace.

HebrewPod101 is called that precisely because we aim to maintain a similar attitude with the materials we offer our learners, most of which are audio-based. We know that learning a language can be a challenge, but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Because we offer a range of materials on demand, you can study at your leisure and in the order you see fit. Additionally, you can take the reins as you progress with your own Hebrew learning trajectory, focusing on what you want and skipping whatever is irrelevant or not of interest to you.

And even as you study independently, know that our team of experts is always happy to field your questions and hear your comments. If you have any questions about podcasts or any other aspect of Hebrew learning, please reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 40 Simple Hebrew Phrases for Beginners

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Learning a new language is no small task. Between grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and even different social norms and body language, it’s easy to feel at a loss as to where to start. Today, we’ll arm you with the top 40 Hebrew phrases for beginners—simple but highly practical expressions and structures for a variety of situations.

We’ll be covering: 

  • Basic greetings and salutations
  • Courtesy phrases for making polite conversation
  • Language to use when shopping or dining out
  • Some phrases you can use to ask for help when you really need it
Woman Ordering in Shop

If you’re entirely new to Hebrew, it’s worth noting a few key features of the language that will help you along as you study the phrases below. First off, Hebrew is an abjad, meaning that, like Arabic and Farsi, vowels are not actual letters but rather diacritics; think of them as dots and dashes that adorn a consonant and tell you which vowel sound goes with it.

To make matters more complicated, these diacritics are typically omitted from written and printed Hebrew, meaning you’re often looking at only consonants. This may sound daunting, but you’ll get used to it! Plus, we’ve added a pronunciation guide for each phrase and example sentence to ease things a bit.

Another key fact you should know about Hebrew is that it’s big on gender. Not only does Hebrew apply gender to living creatures based on biological gender, but all nouns and pronouns are gendered as either male or female (often without any apparent logic). In addition, all adjectives and verbs have to take into account the gender and number of the nouns they modify. Again, don’t sweat it for now! Just be aware of this as you study these Hebrew beginner phrases and their example sentences.

Last but not least, if you speak English or another European language, it’s more than likely that some of Hebrew’s sounds will be hard for you to pronounce. Don’t stress over this! It gets easier over time, especially if you practice on a regular basis. We recommend using the many resources HebrewPod101 offers, such as video lessons with pronunciation modeling from native speakers.

With all that in mind, let’s have a look at the top 40 basic Hebrew phrases for beginners!

Woman Reading Book

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Greetings & Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions
  3. Dining & Shopping Phrases
  4. Asking for Help
  5. Let HebrewPod101 get you set with all the basics.

1. Greetings & Self-introductions

Woman Waving

Obviously, it always makes sense to start at the beginning. While some Israelis can be somewhat abrupt at times, skipping the niceties of introductions and cutting right to the chase, you’ll still want to mind your manners, right? The following phrases should give you a solid place to start as you work on meeting and greeting native Hebrew speakers.

1. מה שלומך?
Mah shlomkha/shlomekh?
“How are you?”

  • מה שלומך, דן?
    Mah shlomkha, Dan?
    How are you, Dan?”
  • מה שלומך, דנה?
    Mah shlomekh, Danah?
    How are you, Dana?”

2. איך הולך?
Eikh holekh?
“How’s it going?”

  • איך הולך? מה שלום המשפחה?
    Eikh holekh? Mah shlom ha-mishpakhah?
    How’s it going? How’s the family?”

3. מה חדש?
Mah khadash?
“What’s new?”

  • מה חדש, אחי? מזמן לא דיברנו.
    Mah khadash, akhi? Mi-zman lo dibarnu.
    What’s new, brother? We haven’t spoken for a long time.”

4. בוקר טוב.
Boker tov.
“Good morning.”

  • בוקר טוב. כבר אכלתם ארוחת בוקר?
    Boker tov. Kvar akhaltem arukhat boker?
    Good morning. Have you already had breakfast?”

5. צהריים טובים.
Tzohorayim tovim.
“Good afternoon.”

  • צהריים טובים. בא לך ללכת לים?
    Tzohorayim tovim. Ba lakh lalekhet la-yam?
    Good afternoon. Do you want to go to the beach?”
Cartoon of Man with Sun

6. ערב טוב.
‘Erev tov.
“Good evening.”

  • ערב טוב. כרטיס אחד, בבקשה.
    ‘Erev tov. Kartis ekhad bevakashah.
    Good evening. One ticket, please.”

7. לילה טוב.
Laylah tov.
“Goodnight.”

  • לילה טוב. חלומות פז!
    Laylah tov. Khalomot paz!
    Goodnight. Sweet dreams!”

8. נעים להכיר.
Na’im lehakir.
“Nice to meet you.”

  • היי, טל. אני רוברט. נעים להכיר.
    Hai, Tal. Ani Robert. Na’im lehakir.
    “Hi, Tal. I’m Robert. Nice to meet you.”

9. שמי…
Shmi…
“My name is…” / “I’m…”

  • שמי רונן. איך קוראים לך?
    Shmi Ronen. Eikh korim lekha?
    I’m Ronen. What’s your name?”

10. אני מ…
Ani mi/mei…
“I’m from..”

  • שלום. שמי רונדה. אני משיקגו.
    Shalom. Shmi Rondah. Ani mi-Shikago.
    “Hi. My name is Ronda. I’m from Chicago.”

2. Courtesy Phrases & Social Expressions

Handshake

Now let’s take a look at some useful Hebrew phrases for courteous and polite conversation. Think of this as an emergency kit for most social interactions you’ll have in Israel. It is worth noting that Israelis are typically rather informal compared to people of some other cultures, but don’t mistake that for lack of courtesy—we just show it in our own special way, of course!

To make things easier, we’ve chosen only phrases that do not require any modification based on the gender of the speaker or the addressee. Basically, these are stock phrases, so feel free to use them liberally, wherever appropriate.

11. תודה.
Todah.
“Thank you.” / “Thanks.”

  • תודה על הפרחים!
    Todah ‘al ha-prakhim.
    Thank you for the flowers.”

12. בבקשה.
Bevakashah.
“You’re welcome.” / “Please.”
*Note that this one can mean either “you’re welcome” or “please,” depending on the context, as illustrated by the example below.

  • אפשר כוס תה בבקשה?
    -Efshar kos teh bevakashah?
    -“Could I have a cup of tea, please?”
  • -בטח. הנה, קחי.
    -Betakh. Hineh, k’khi.
    -“Of course. Here you go.”
  • -תודה.
    -Todah.
    -“Thank you.”
  • בבקשה.
    Bevakashah.
    -“You’re welcome.”

13. סליחה.
Slikhah.
“Sorry.” / “Pardon.”

  • סליחה, איפה השירותים?
    Slikhah, eifoh ha-sherutim?
    “Pardon, where is the bathroom?”

14. אין בעיה.
Ein ba’ayah.
“No problem.”

  • -תודה שאספת אותי מהתחנה המרכזית.
    -Todah she-asafta oti me-ha-takhanah ha-merkazit.
    -“Thanks for picking me up from the bus station.”
  • אין בעיה.
    Ein be’ayah.
    -“No problem.”

15. ברשותך
Bi-rshutkha / Bi-rshuteikh
“If you wouldn’t mind”

  • ברשותך, הייתי רוצה לחנות כאן.
    Bi-rshutkha, hayiti rotzeh lakhanot kan.
    If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to park here.”

Silhouette of People Waving

16. להתראות.
Lehitra’ot.
“Goodbye.” / “See you later.”

  • תודה שבאתם. להתראות!
    Todah she-batem. Lehitra’ot!
    “Thanks for coming. Goodbye!”

17. עד מחר.
‘Ad makhar.
“See you tomorrow.”

  • עד מחר. שיהיה לך ערב נעים.
    ‘Ad makhar. She-yehiyeh lakh ‘erev na’im.
    “See you tomorrow. Have a pleasant evening.”

18. עד הפעם הבאה
‘Ad ha-pa’am ha-ba’ah
“Till next time”

  • היה אחלה אימון! עד הפעם הבאה, גבר.
    Hayah akhlah imun! ‘Ad ha-pa’am ha-ba’ah, gever.
    “That was a great training session. Till next time, buddy.”

19. כל טוב.
Kol tuv.
“Be well.”

  • נסיעה טובה! כל טוב.
    Nesi’ah tovah! Kol tuv.
    “Have a good trip! Be well.”

20. ד”ש ל…
Dash le…
“Regards to…”
*ד”ש is an acronym for דרישת שלום (drishat shalom), literally “demanding/seeking peace.” It is equivalent to “regards” in English.

  • ד”ש לכל המשפחה.
    Dash le-khol ha-mishpakhah.
    Regards to the whole family.”

3. Dining & Shopping Phrases

Chef Seasoning Dish

Our next set of beginner phrases in Hebrew consists of expressions and sentence patterns you’ll need when you’re at the store, the market, or a restaurant. Obviously, this is just a crash course in shopping and dining out in Israel. After all, the art of negotiation is so powerful and omnipresent in Israeli culture that many restaurants don’t even display prices for the dishes on the menu. This leaves room for them to work you up on the price, or—if you know how—for you to work them down.

21. אדוני? / גברתי?
Adoni? / Gvirti?
“Sir?” / “Miss?”

  • אדוני, אני רוצה להזמין שולחן לשלוש.
    Adoni, ani rotzah lehazmin shulkhan le-shalosh.
    Sir, I’d like to reserve a table for three.”

22. האם אפשר…?
Ha’im efshar…?
“Could I have…?”

  • גברתי, האם אפשר לקבל תפריט באנגלית?
    Gvirti, ha’im efshar lekabel tafrit be-Anglit?
    “Miss, could I have an English menu?”

23. יש לכם…?
Yeish lakhem…?
“Do you have…?”

  • יש לכם תפריט יינות?
    Yesh lakhem tafrit yeinot?
    Do you have a wine list?”

24. אשמח…
Esmakh…
“I’d love…”

  • אשמח לקבל אספרסו כפול.
    Esmakh lekabel espreso kaful.
    I’d love a double espresso.”

25. כמה זה עולה?
Kamah zeh oleh?
“How much is it?”

  • הכובע הזה ממש יפה. כמה זה עולה?
    Ha-kova’ ha-zeh mamash yafeh. Kamah zeh oleh?
    “This hat is really nice. How much is it?”

Woman Checking Out at Bookstore

26. אפשר עודף, בבקשה?
Efshar ‘odef, bevakashah?
“Could I get some change, please?”

יש לי רק שטר של מאה. אפשר עודף, בבקשה?
Yesh li rak shtar shel me’ah. Efshar ‘odef, bevakashah?“I only have a one-hundred shekel bill. Could I get some change, please?”

27. אתם מקבלים כרטיסי אשראי?
Atem mekablim kartisei ashrai?
“Do you accept credit cards?”

אין עליי מזומן. אתם מקבלים כרטיסי אשראי?
Ein alai mezuman. Atem mekablim kartisei ashrai?
“I don’t have any cash on me. Do you accept credit cards?”

28. אפשר למדוד?
Efshar limdod?
“Can I try this/it on?”

אהבתי את השמלה הזאת. אפשר למדוד?
Ahavti et ha-simlah ha-zot. Efshar limdod?
“I like this dress. Can I try it on?”

29. יש לכם את זה בצבע אחר?
Yeish lakhem et zeh be-tzeva’ akher?
“Do you have this/it in another color?”

הארנק הזה הוא בדיוק מה שחיפשתי אבל יש לכם את זה בצבע אחר?
Ha-arnak ha-zeh hu bidiyuk mah she-khipasti aval yesh lakhem et zeh be-tzeva’ akher?
“This wallet is just what I was looking for, but do you have it in another color?”

30. אני אקח את זה.
Ani ekhakh et zeh.
“I’ll take it.”

אני אקח את זה. כמה זה ביחד?
Ani ekhakh et zeh. Kamah zeh be-yakhad?
I’ll take it. How much is that altogether?”

4. Asking for Help

People Holding Out Puzzle Pieces

Finally, here are some absolutely essential basic Hebrew phrases for beginners, namely phrases you can use when you’re in need of assistance. While Israelis can sometimes come across as a bit hard-edged, most of us are quite happy to help someone in need. Especially if you make the effort to learn how to ask for help in Hebrew, you should expect someone to come to your aid.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask police officers, border patrol, soldiers, and the like for help, especially if your situation is urgent. Just be sensitive to the reality of Israel, where real and present danger does often exist. Therefore, be sure not to exaggerate!

31. איפה…?
Eiyfoh…?
“Where is/are…?”

  • איפה תחנת הרכבת?
    Eifoh takhanat ha-rakevet?
    Where is the train station?”

32. איך מגיעים ל…?
Eiykh megi’im le/la…?
“How do I get to…?”

  • איך מגיעים לקניון?
    Eiykh megi’im la-kanyon?
    How do I get to the mall?”

33. אתה מדבר/את מדברת אנגלית?
Atah medabeir/At medaberet Anglit?
“Do you speak English?”

  • סליחה, את מדברת אנגלית?
    Slikhah, at medaberet Anglit?
    “Pardon, do you speak English?”

34. איך אומרים … בעברית?
Eiykh omrim … be-Ivrit?
“How do you say … in Hebrew?”

  • איך אומרים cell phone בעברית?
    Eiykh omrim cell phone be-Ivrit?
    How do you say cell phone in Hebrew?”

35. תוכל/תוכלי לחזור על זה?
Tukhal/Tukhli lakhazor ‘al zeh?
“Could you repeat that?”

  • איך? תוכל לחזור על זה?
    Eikh? Tukhal lakhazor ‘al zeh?
    “Come again. Could you repeat that?”

Man Helping Other Man Rock Climb

36. סליחה. שוב?
Slikhah. Shuv?
“Sorry. Once more?”

  • סליחה. פלאפון? שוב?
    Slikhah. Pelefon? Shuv?
    Sorry. Pelefon? Once more?”

37. לא הבנתי.
Lo hevanti.
“I don’t understand.”
*Literally: “I haven’t understood.”

  • ישר ישר ואז ימינה? לא הבנתי.
    Yashar yashar ve-az yeminah? Lo hevanti.
    “Just go straight and then left? I don’t understand.”

38. אני צריך/צריכה לראות רופא.
Ani tsarikh/tsrikha lir’ot rofeih.
“I need a doctor.”

  • אני צריכה לראות רופא. כואב לי הבטן ממש.
    Ani tsrikha lir’ot rofeh. Ko’evet li ha-beten mamash.
    I need a doctor. My stomach really hurts.”

39. האם תוכל/תוכלי לעזור לי?
Ha’im tukhal/tukhli la’azor li?
“Could you help me?”

  • האם תוכל לעזור לי? אני אבוד.
    Ha’im tukhal/tukhli la’azor li? Ani avud.
    Could you help me? I’m lost.”

40. הצילו!
Hatzilu!
“Help!”
*This one is pretty much a standalone expression. Don’t use it unless you really need it, as Israelis will come rushing to your aid. No crying wolf!

5. Let HebrewPod101 get you set with all the basics.

We hope you found today’s lesson useful. While these are the top 40 simple Hebrew phrases for beginners, there is much, much more to learn. And that’s exactly why we’re here! HebrewPod101 is proud to offer content covering a variety of topics and designed for every difficulty level. 

If you’ve been reading this lesson, chances are you’re at a beginner level. Be sure to check out all the beginner materials we offer, such as practice conversations, grammar and pronunciation guides, and plenty more words and phrases to bolster your beginner Hebrew vocabulary.

While taking on a new language is definitely a challenge, we believe that there is no reason to suffer while you do so. That’s why we strive for lessons that are not only useful and informative, but also fun. Is there any topic you’d like us to cover? Feel free to get in touch and let us know. We’re always happy to hear from you.

Until next time, shalom!

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Level Up with the Top 150 Advanced Hebrew Words

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American writer and lexicographer Wilfred Funk, of the publishing house Funk & Wagnalls, once said: “The more words you know, the more clearly and powerfully you will think…and the more ideas you will invite into your mind.” This is just as true when acquiring a second (or third or fourth) language as it is in your mother tongue.

As you progress in your language studies, learning more advanced Hebrew words is a logical—albeit unavoidable—next step. The more words you can acquire and use in Hebrew, the better you will be able to express yourself with precision and eloquence. A wider vocabulary will also allow you to understand written and spoken language with greater ease. 

Of course, advanced words are not the most monosyllabic in the dictionary. Rather, think of them as secondary and tertiary colors that expand your palette, allowing you greater expressivity and imagination. These can be literary or poetic words, idioms, colloquialisms, or specialized terminology.

In today’s lesson, we’ll look at the top 150 advanced Hebrew vocabulary words to help you expand your linguistic repertoire. We will draw from the academic and business worlds, the field of medicine, and legal language, concluding with some essential words to help you with academic and other formal writing.

Table of Contents
  1. מילים אקדמיות (Milim Akademiyot, “Academic Words”)
  2. מילים מעולם העסקים (Milim me-‘Olam ha-‘Asakim, “Business Words”)
  3. מילים מתחום הרפואה (Milim mi-Tekhum ha-Refu’ah, “Medical Words”)
  4. מילים מעולם המשפטים (Milim me-‘Olam ha-Mishpatim, “Legal Terminology”)
  5. מילים מתקדמות לכתיבה אקדמית (Milim Mitkadmot le-Ktivah Akadeimit, “Advanced Words for Academic Writing””)
  6. Level up with HebrewPod101!

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מילים אקדמיות (“Milim Akademiyot, “Academic Words)


Student in Library

Let’s begin our list of advanced Hebrew words with some academic vocabulary. These are words you’re likely to encounter and use in the context of academic studies or in written and spoken material from the world of research, philosophy, the arts, etc. This language can be particularly useful if you plan on studying at an Israeli academic institution or if you’re interested in reading the wealth of Hebrew-language research that exists in just about every field of study.

1.     אלטרנטיבה
alternativa
“alternative”

2.     הערכה
ha’arakhah
“estimate”

3.     תועלת
to’elet
“benefit”

4.     מורכב
murkav
“complex”

5.     קונספט
konsept
“concept”

6.     מסקנה
maskanah
“conclusion”

7.     התנהלות
hitnahalut
“conduct”

8.     עקבי
‘ikvi
“consistent”

9.     הקשר
heksher
“context”

10.  תיאום
te’um
“coordination”

11.  סביבה
svivah
“environment” / “surroundings”

12.  לשער
lesha’er
“to estimate”

13.  גורם
gorem
“factor”

14.  תפקוד
tifkud
“function”

15.  זיהוי
zihuy
“identification”

16.  רושם
roshem
“impression”

17.  להצביע
lehatzbi’a
“to indicate”

18.  השקעה
hashka’ah
“investment”

19.  חוג
khug
“academic department/major”

20.  שיטה
shitah
“method”

21.  להתרחש
lehitrakhesh
“to occur”

22.  פוטנציאל
potentzi’al
“potential”

23.  חיוני
khi’yuni
“essential”

24.  טווח
tvakh
“range”

25.  משמעותי
mashma’uti
“significant”

מילים מעולם העסקים (“Milim me-‘Olam ha-‘Asakim, “Business Words)

Coworkers Looking at Laptop

Now let’s have a look at some business vocabulary. These words can be very helpful if you have to deal with any finances in Hebrew. This includes things like banking, investments, and even the stock market. As an economic powerhouse, Israel is home to plenty of business dealings—especially startups—so these words will definitely be an essential part of your advanced Hebrew toolkit!

26.     לארגן
le’argen
“to organize”

27.     הנהגה
hanhagah
“administration”

28.     להרחיב
leharkhiv
“to expand”

29.     סעיף
sei’if
“clause”

30.     בטל ומבוטל
batel u-mevutal
“null and void”

31.     מתחרה
mitkhareh
“competitor”

32.     חשבונית
kheshbonit
“invoice”

33.     הצעת נגד
hatza’at neged
“counteroffer”

34.     סימן מסחרי
siman miskhari
“trademark”

35.  קונצנזוס
kontzenzus
“consensus”

36.  יחסי ציבור (יח”צ)
yakhasei tzibur (yakhats)
“public relations”
*Note that the abbreviation יח”ץ is pronounced “yakhatz.”

37.  סדר יום
seder yom
“agenda” (literally “order of the day”)

38.  עזר חזותי
‘ezer khazuti
“visual aid”

39.  שירות לקוחות
sherut lekokhot
“customer service”

40.  אסטרטגיה
astrategiyah
“strategy”

41.  ציוד
tziyud
“equipment”

42.  חומר גלם
khomer gelem
“raw material”

43.  סניף
snif
“branch” (as in the branch of a business, bank, etc.)

44.  קוד לבוש
kod levush
“dress code”

45.  אחריות
akhrayut
“warranty”

46.  חקר שוק
kheiker shuk
“market research”

47.  אישור
ishur
“authorization”

48.  קנס
knas
“penalty”

49.  מטה
mateh
“headquarters”

50.  מסחרי
miskhari
“commercial” (adj.)

מילים מתחום הרפואה (“Milim mi-Tekhum ha-Refu’ah, “Medical Words)

Surgeon Performing Operation

In this section, we’ll cover some advanced vocabulary in Hebrew from the medical realm. These words can be useful whether you plan to study medicine or simply want to be prepared for any medical emergencies that may come up. You’ll notice that our list features a mix of unique Hebrew words and cognates, or words that share a common root with their English equivalents. These cognates should be more familiar to you, even if the pronunciation throws you for a loop.

51.     רופא מנתח/רופאה מנתחת
rofe menate’akh/rof’ah menatakhat
“surgeon”

52.     אשפוז
ishpuz
“inpatient treatment”

53.     חדר מיון
khadar miyun
“ER” / “triage”

54.     טיפול נמרץ
tipul nimratz
“intensive care”

55.     כירורגיה
khirurgiyah
“surgery”

56.     בית מרקחת
beit mirkakhat
“pharmacy”

57.     מרשם
mirsham
“prescription”

58.     זריקה
zrikah
“injection”

59.     בדיקה רפואית
b’dikah refu’it
“medical test”

60.  גבס
geves
“cast”

61.  אבחנה
avkhanah
“diagnosis”

62.  שפעת
shapa’at
“flu”

63.  פצע
petza
“wound”

64.  שבר
shever
“break” / “fracture”

65.  תסמונת
tismonet
“syndrome”

66.  שבץ
shavatz
“stroke”

67.  התקף לב
hetkef lev
“heart attack”

68.  להתעלף
lehit’alef
“to faint”

69.  פרכוס
pirkus
“seizure”

70.  שיתוק
shituk
“paralysis”

71.  נמק
nemek
“necrosis”

72.  זיהום
zihum
“infection”

73.  עורק
‘orek
“artery”

74.  וריד
vrid
“vein”

75.  מטופל/ת
metupal/metupelet
“patient”

מילים מעולם המשפטים (“Milim me-‘Olam ha-Mishpatim, “Legal Terminology)

Scales of Justice and Law Books

Next up, let’s review some legalese. As in any language, there is a lot of legal terminology in Hebrew designed only for lawyers to understand. That said, you definitely want to arm yourself with some basic knowledge so that you can understand things like rental and other contracts. Knowing these words will also help you follow any legal stories you may see on the news, such as the perennial trials of Israeli politicians—even the prime minister himself!

76.     להאשים
leha’ashim
“to accuse”

77.     לתבוע
litbo’a
“to sue”

78.     לטעון
lit’on
“to charge” / “to claim”

79.     ערעור
‘ir’ur
“appeal”

80.     לעצור
la’atzor
“to arrest”

81.     תיק
tik
“case”

82.     בית משפט
beit mishpat
“court”

83.     להרשיע
leharshi’a
“to convict”

84.     עונש מוות
‘onesh mavet
“death penalty”

85.  פשע
pesha’
“crime”

86.  זיוף
ziyuf
“forgery”

87.  בית כלא
beit kele
“prison”

88.  עבריין צעיר/עבריינית צעירה
‘avaryan tza’ir/’avaryanit tze’irah
“juvenile delinquent”

89.  עוון
‘avon
“misdemeanor”

90.  שבועת שקר
shvu’at sheker
“perjury”

91.  פסק דין
pesek din
“ruling”

92.  הברחה
havrakhah
“smuggling”

93.  עד
‘ed
“witness”

94.  הסגת גבול
hasagat gvul
“trespassing”

95.  תקופת מבחן
tkufat mivkhan
“probation”

96.  מאסר בית
ma’asar bayit
“house arrest”

97.  רצח
retzakh
“murder”

98.  רשלנות
rashlanut
“negligence”

99.  עורך/עורכת דין
‘orekh/’orekhet din
“lawyer”

100.  הונאה
hona’ah
“fraud”

מילים מתקדמות לכתיבה אקדמית (Milim Mitkadmot le-Ktivah Akadeimit, Advanced Words for Academic Writing””)

Students Writing in Classroom

Finally, let’s take a look at some of the most useful words for academic writing. Most of these words are considered linkers (in Hebrew מילות חיבור, milot khibur), which you can think of as the mortar that holds the bricks—the main words of your writing—together in a solid structure. We have included here a broad array of linkers, including linkers of time, comparison, addition, causality, and more. You’ll definitely want to learn these advanced-level Hebrew words if you plan on studying at any Hebrew institution of higher learning, but they are just as useful for writing emails and even longer texts.

101.     במרוצת
bi-merutzat
“during” / “throughout”

102.     בשלהי
be-shilhei
“at the end of”

103.     טרם
terem
“prior to” / “before”

104.     על מנת
‘al menat
“in order to”

105.     מפני ש…
mipnei she…
“due to the fact that”

106.     לאור
le-or
“in light of”

107.     היות ש…
heyot she…
“considering that”

108.     בעקבות
be-‘ikvot
“due to”

109.     עקב
‘ekev
“following”

110.  במילים אחרות
be-milim akherot
“in other words”

111.  בניסוח אחר
be-nisu’akh akher
“to put it another way”

112.  כלומר
klomar
“which is to say”

113.  יתרה מזאת
yeterah mi-zot
“in addition”

114. בנוסף לכך
be-nosaf le-khakh
“moreover”

115.  כמו כן
kmo khen
“likewise”

116.  בדומה לכך
be-domeh le-khakh
“similarly”

117.  מעבר לכך
mei-‘ever le-khakh
“what is more”

118.  כפי ש…
k’fi she…
“just as”

119.  אולם
ulam
“however”

120.  בניגוד לכך
be-nigud le-khakh
“in contrast”

121.  במקרה ש…
be-mikreh she…
“in the case of”

122.  אלמלא
ilmale
“were it not for”

123.  אילו
ilu
“if (only)”

124.  בתנאי ש…
bi-tnai she…
“as long as”

125.  אלא אם כן
ela im ken
“unless”

126.  כידוע
ka-yadu’a
“as is known”

127.  כאמור
ka-amur
“as stated”

128.  כנזכר לעיל
ka-nizkar le-‘eil
“as mentioned previously”

129.  כלומר
klomar
“which is to say”

130.  משמע
mashma’
“that is” / “meaning”

131.  דהיינו
dehainu
“i.e.”

132.  למשל
le-mashal
“for example”

133.  כגון
kegon
“such as”

134.  פירושו של דבר
perusho shel davar
“which means that”

135.  אכן
akhen
“indeed”

136.  אומנם
omnam
“while” / “although”

137.  בייחוד
be-yikhud
“especially”

138.  יש להדגיש
yesh lehadgish
“it should be emphasized”

139.  ללא ספק
lelo safek
“undoubtedly”

140.  ראשית
reshit
“firstly”

141.  שנית
shenit
“secondly”

142.  תחילה
tekhilah
“first of all”

143.  לבסוף
levasof
“finally”

144.  לאור כל זאת
le-or kol zot
“in light of all the above”

145.  לסיכום
le-sikum
“in conclusion”

146.  נראה אפוא ש…
nir’eh eifo she…
“it would seem that indeed”

147.  משתמע מכך
mishtame’a mi-kakh
“as such”

148.  על אחת כמה וכמה
‘al akhat kamah ve-khamah
“all the more so”

149.  כל שכן
kol she-ken
“much less”

150.  קל וחומר
kal va-khomer
“let alone”

Level up with HebrewPod101!

We hope you’ve found our list of advanced Hebrew vocabulary words helpful and interesting. While 150 words is a lot to digest, as long as you take it a morsel at a time and make sure to practice and review, you’ll find yourself retaining quite a lot. As we always suggest, it is best to focus on a single set of words rather than attempting to tackle the whole list at once. You can do this by category, by starting letter, by part of speech, or by any other method that feels comfortable. As long as it works for you, go for it!

Just don’t forget to practice the vocabulary frequently, whether you do this using flashcards, lists, or other means. Practice makes perfect, and nowhere is that truer than when expanding your vocabulary in a foreign language. For some expert tips on building and retaining vocabulary, check out this article. You can also continue learning by heading over to our curated collection of advanced Hebrew lessons

Are there any other advanced Hebrew word categories you’d like for us to add? Any words you’ve come across that you’re unsure how to use? Feel free to get in touch with us, and our friendly team of Hebrew experts will be happy to help you out. 

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 300 Intermediate Hebrew Vocabulary Words

Girl Studying Vocab Words

There are so many elements involved in learning a language, and all of them are important. Grammar, pronunciation, listening and reading comprehension, and even slang are all essential if you want to bring your Hebrew level up to speed. But there is no question that the number-one element in learning Hebrew is vocabulary. After all, without the words to describe what you want to say, no amount of grammar will save your skin. At this point in your learning journey, it makes sense to pick up some of the most useful intermediate Hebrew vocabulary words.

As you transition from a beginner level to an intermediate one, you’ll find yourself opening up new doors. Suddenly, for instance, you won’t sweat it when ordering a coffee at a café or a meal at a restaurant. And you may find yourself starting to understand bits and pieces of the conversations you hear while waiting for the bus or standing in line at the supermarket.

These are all signs that you’re truly progressing. But don’t get complacent about it! Now is the time to expand your vocabulary so you can continue to grow. A more extensive knowledge of intermediate Hebrew words and phrases will give that extra boost so you can start having longer and deeper conversations. It will also allow you to understand more of the Hebrew you hear and see around you.

Without further ado, let’s have a look at the top 300 intermediate Hebrew words. We’ll cover numbers all the way up to a billion (don’t worry—one at a time!), verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and more. Definitely don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to tackle all of these in one go. It’s best to pick a category, letter, or some other aspect of the words listed below and study them in installments. This will keep you motivated as you dominate manageable chunks of language, rather than frustrated by taking on too much at once. 

Here we go!

Dictionary and Magnifying Glass

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Larger Cardinal Numbers
  2. Ordinal Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Adverbs
  7. Prepositions
  8. Conjunctions
  9. Auxiliary Words and Particles
  10. HebrewPod101 is your one-stop destination for all your Hebrew needs.

1. Larger Cardinal Numbers


Stock Ticker

You should be comfortable with Hebrew numbers 1-10 by now, in both masculine and feminine forms. If you’re still a bit shaky or maybe in need of a refresher, check out this lesson for review. 

We’ll be looking at the numbers in their masculine form today, which is the form you would use for regular counting. Just remember that when describing a countable noun, Hebrew requires that numbers agree in gender with whatever they are counting.

Also note that a mix of masculine and feminine items will always be counted using the masculine form of numbers, as follows.

1.        עשר
‘eser
“10”

2.        אחת-עשרה
akhat-‘esreh
“11”

3.        שתים-עשרה
shteim-‘esreh
“12”

4.        שלוש-עשרה
shlosh-‘esreh
“13”

5.        ארבע-עשרה
arba’-‘esreh
“14”

6.        חמש-עשרה
khameish-‘esreh
“15”

7.        שש-עשרה
shesh-‘esreh
“16”

8.        שבע-עשרה
shva’-‘esreh
“17”

9.        שמונה-עשרה
shmonah-‘esreh
“18”

10.        תשע-עשרה
tsha’-‘esreh
“19”

11.        עשרים
‘esrim
“20”

12.        שלושים
shloshim
“30”

13.        ארבעים
arba’im
“40”

14.        חמישים
khamishim
“50”

15.        שישים
shishim
“60”

16.        שבעים
shiv’im
“70”

17.        שמונים
shmonim
“80”

18.        תשעים
tish’im
“90”

19.        מאה
me’ah
“100”

20.        אלף
elef
“1,000”

21.        אלפיים
alpayim
“2,000”

22.        שלושת-אלפים
shloshet-alafim
“3,000”

23.        ארבעת-אלפים
arba’at-alafim
“4,000”

24.        חמשת-אלפים
khameshet-alafim
“5,000”

25.        ששת-אלפים
sheshet-alafim
“6,000”

26. שבעת-אלפים
shiv’at-alafim
“7,000”

27.        שמונת-אלפים
shmonat-alafim
“8,000”

28.        תשעת-אלפים
tsha’at-alafim
“9,000”

29.        עשרת-אלפים
‘aseret-alafim
“10,000”

30.        עשרים אלף
‘esrim elef
“20,000”

31.        שלושים אלף
shloshim elef
“30,000”

32.        ארבעים אלף
arba’im elef
“40,000”

33.        חמישים אלף
khamishim elef
“50,000”

34.        שישים אלף
shishim elef
“60,000”

35.        שבעים אלף
shiv’im elef
“70,000”

36.        שמונים אלף
shmonim elef
“80,000”

37.        תשעים אלף
tish’im elef
“90,000”

38.        מאה אלף
me’ah elef
“100,000”

39.        מיליון
milyon
“1,000,000”

2. Ordinal Numbers

Colored Numbers

Apart from knowing your cardinal numbers down pat, you’ll also want to know your ordinal numbers. Don’t be scared off by the name. These are simply the numbers we use to describe the order of things, like “first,” “second,” and “third” in English. Here they are in Hebrew. Keep in mind that, as with cardinal numbers, you need to make sure ordinal numbers match what they’re counting in terms of gender.

40.        ראשון
rishon
“1st”

41.        שני
sheni
“2nd”

42.        שלישי
shlishi
“3rd”

43.        רביעי
revi’i
“4th”

44.        חמישי
khamishi
“5th”

45.        שישי
shishi
“6th”

46.        שביעי
shvi’i
“7th”

47. שמיני
shmini
“8th”

48.        תשיעי
tshi’i
“9th”

49.        עשירי
‘asiri
“10th”

3. Nouns


Full Car Trunk

Now that we’ve got our numbers straight, let’s have a look at some of the things you may wish to attach them to, namely nouns. These are a rather mixed bag, without any common theme. They are simply some of the most common Hebrew nouns suited for the intermediate level. Note that when nouns describe a person or animal (for instance, names of occupations), these nouns will often have both masculine and feminine forms.

50.        אזעקה
az’akah
“alarm”

51.        מעשה
ma’aseh
“action” / “tale”

52.        אלף-בית
alef-beit
“alphabet”

53.        מזג אוויר
mezeg avir
“weather”

54.        קבלה
kabalah
“receipt”

55.        פרסומת
pirsomet
“advertisement”

56.        יכולת
yekholet
“ability”

57.        מטרה
matarah
“goal” / “objective”

58.        חשבון
kheshbon
“check” / “bill” / “account”

59.        יתרון
yitaron
“advantage”

60.        מבטא
mivta
“accent”

61.        דחף
dakhaf
“drive” / “impulse”

62.        כמות
kamut
“amount”

63.        גיל
gil
“age”

64.        כאב
ke’ev
“pain” / “ache”

65.        עידן
‘idan
“age” / “epoch”

66.        מבצע
mivtza’
“operation” / “sale”

67.        הישג
heseg
“accomplishment” / “achievement”

68.        שדה תעופה
sdeh te’ufah
“airport”

69.        רואה חשבון
ro’eh kheshbon
“accountant”

70.        סוכנות
sokhnut
“agency”

71.        התנצלות
hitnatzlut
“apology”

72.        צבא
tzava
“army” / “military”

73.        ויכוח
viku’akh
“argument” / “dispute”

74.        אזור
ezor
“area” / “zone”

75.        הגעה
haga’ah
“arrival”

76.        כתבה
katavah
“article”

77.        ספורט
sport
“sport”

78.        הרשמה
harshamah
“registration” / “application”

79.        גישה
gishah
“access”

80.        תגובה
tguvah
“response”

81.        נמלה
nemalah
“ant”

82.        סידור
sidur
“arrangement”

83.        הודעה
hoda’ah
“announcement”

84.        מלאך
mal’akh
“angel”

85.        מראה
mar’eh
“appearance”

86.        טיול
tiyul
“trip” / “outing”

87.        רקע
reka’
“background”

88.        מרפסת
mirpeset
“porch” / “balcony”

89.        פאב
pab
“bar”

90.        אופה
ofeh
“baker”

91.        אמבטיה
ambatyah
“bath”

92.        עמדה
‘emdah
“stance” / “attitude”

93.        קהל
kahal
“audience”

94.        ספר
sapar
“barber”

95.        תחבושת
takhboshet
“bandage”

96.        מזוודה
mizvadah
“luggage” / “suitcase”

97.        ממוצע
memutza’
“average”

98.        תשומת לב
tsumet lev
“attention”

99.        תקיפה
tkifah
“attack” / “strike”

100.        סביבה
svivah
“surroundings”

4. Verbs


Figure Skaters

Now let’s have a look at some of the most common verbs in Modern Hebrew for intermediate students. Remember that verbs are words that describe an action or state of being, such as “to do” or “to be.” Also remember that verb conjugation in Hebrew necessitates subject-verb agreement in terms of gender and number. For more information on this, check out our lesson on Hebrew verbs here. Note that all of the verbs listed below are provided in their infinitive form (in other words, without conjugation).

101.        לבטל
levatel
“to cancel”

102.        להתנגש
lehitnagesh
“to collide” / “to crash”

103.        לאסור
la’asor
“to prohibit”

104.        לקפוץ
likfotz
“to jump”

105.        להתאפק
lehit’apek
“to bear” / “to hold on”

106.        להתחנן
lehitkhanen
“to beg”

107.        להצטרף
lehitztaref
“to join”

108.        להנות
lehenot
“to enjoy”

109.        להאשים
leha’ashim
“to accuse” / “to blame”

110.        להכות
lehakot
“to hit” / “to strike”

111.        להפריע
lehafri’a
“to bother”

112.        לנדנד
lenadned
“to swing” / “to pester”

113.        לשכנע
leshakhne’a
“to convince”

114.        לתפוס
litpos
“to catch”

115.        לחגוג
lakhgog
“to celebrate”

116.        לרדוף
lirdof
“to chase”

117.        לנהוג
linhog
“to drive”

118.        להתבלבל
lehitbalbel
“to get confused”

119.        לכבוש
likhbosh
“to conquer”

120.        לשקול
lishkol
“to weigh” / “to consider”

121.        להשקיע
lehashki’a
“to invest”

122.        להביע
lehabi’a
“to express”

123.        להתכתב
lehitkatev
“to correspond”

124.        להשחית
lehashkhit
“to corrupt”

125.        להשתעל
lehishta’el
“to cough”

126.        להבדיל
lehavdil
“to distinguish”

127.        להיעלם
lehe’alem
“to disappear”

128.        לשחרר
leshakhrer
“to free” / “to dismiss”

129.        לחלק
lekhalek
“to divide”

130.        להתחתן
lehitkhanen
“to beg”

131.        להתעטש
lehit’atesh
“to sneeze”

132.        לגרור
ligror
“to drag” / “to tow”

133.        להסיע
lehasi’a
“to transport” / “to give a ride to”

134.        לטבוע
litbo’a
“to drown”

135.        למחוק
limkhok
“to erase”

136.        לשער
lesha’er
“to estimate”

137.        להגזים
lehagzim
“to exaggerate”

138.        להתפוצץ
lehitpotzetz
“to explode”

139.        לנצל
lenatzel
“to exploit”

140.        להיכשל
lehikashel
“to fail”

141.        לסלוח
lislo’akh
“to forgive”

142.        לפעול
lif’ol
“to act” / “to work”

143.        להזיע
lehazi’a
“to sweat”

144.        לרעוד
lir’od
“to tremble” / “to shake”

145.        להתבונן
lehitbonen
“to ponder” / “to meditate”

146.        להזדרז
lehizdarez
“to hurry up”

147.        לזלזל
lezalzel
“to belittle”

148.        להשוויץ
lehashvitz
“to brag” / “to show off”

149.        לשגע
leshage’a
“to drive crazy”

150.        להתחבר
lehitkhaber
“to connect”

5. Adjectives

Big Man and Small Man

Now let’s see some essential adjectives for intermediate-level Hebrew. Adjectives, you’ll recall, are used to describe nouns. Think of words like “big” or “red.” As we’ve seen, Hebrew is big on gendering words, and adjectives are no exception. Make sure your adjectives agree with the noun they describe in terms of gender and number. If you need help with this, we invite you to refresh your memory with this lesson on how to properly use adjectives in Modern Hebrew. The adjectives listed below are in masculine form.

151.        נטוש
natush
“abandoned”

152.        אקדמי
akademi
“academic”

153.        מוצלח
mutzlakh
“successful”

154.        חומצי
khumtzi
“acidic”

155.        נוכחי
nokhekhi
“present”

156.        מהולל
mehulal
“praiseworthy” / “admired”

157.        חביב
khaviv
“lovable”

158.        מעצבן
me’atzben
“annoying”

159.        צבעוני
tziv’oni
“colorful”

160.        מיושן
meyushan
“aged”

161.        אומנותי
omanuti
“artistic”

162.        מרשים
marshim
“impressive”

163.        מרתק
meratek
“fascinating”

164.        אותנטי
otenti
“authentic”

165.        חמדן
khamdan
“greedy”

166.        נהדר
nehedar
“fantastic”

167.        מסוגל
mesugal
“capable”

168.        מקובל
mekubal
“acceptable” / “accepted”

169.        מדויק
meduyak
“precise” / “accurate”

170.        גמיש
gamish
“flexible”

171.        מתקדם
mitkadem
“advanced”

172.        פחדן
pakhdan
“fearful”

173.        אגרסיבי
agresivi
“aggressive”

174.        מייסר
meyaser
“agonizing”

175.        מופתע
mufta’
“taken aback” / “surprised”

176.        מנותק
menutak
“detached” / “disconnected”

177.        הוגן
hogen
“fair” / “just”

178.        חרד
khared
“anxious”

179.        הולם
holem
“befitting”

180.        מבויש
mevuyash
“embarrassed”

181.        אתלטי
atleti
“athletic”

182.        מושך
moshekh
“attractive”

183.        מורשה
mursheh
“authorized”

184.        ממוצע
memutzah
“average”

185.        נורא
nora
“awful”

186.        מוחלט
mukhlat
“absolute”

187.        משובח
meshubakh
“deluxe”

188.        כואב
ko’ev
“painful”

189.        פעיל
pa’il
“active”

190.        הרפתקן
harpatkan
“adventurous”

191.        ידני
yadani
“handheld” / “manual”

192.        מבושם
mevusam
“perfumed”

193.        אוטומטי
otomati
“automatic”

194.        מודע
muda’
“aware”

195.        ממורמר
memurmar
“bitter”

196.        תפל
tafel
“insipid”

197.        אקזוטי
ekzoti
“exotic”

198.        נועז
no’az
“bold”

199.        מבריק
mavrik
“brilliant”

200.        שתלטני
shtaltani
“overbearing”

6. Adverbs

Car Shifter

While adjectives describe nouns, adverbs describe verbs. Think of words like “fast,” “well,” or “honestly” in English. Essentially, these words give us additional information about how, why, when, etc. an action is performed or a state occurs. The good news about adverbs in Hebrew is that they do not need to be modified for agreement with the nouns or verbs they accompany. Rather, adverbs have only one form—that means less for you to memorize! For more on adverbs in Hebrew and how to use them, check out this lesson.

201.        היטב
heitev
“well”

202.        נפלא
nifla
“amazingly”

203.        נורא
nora
“terribly”

204.        בשקט
be-sheket
“quietly”

205.        בקול רם
be-kol ram
“out loud”

206.        באהבה
be-ahavah
“lovingly”

207.        בעדינות
be-‘adinut
“gently”

208.        בשמחה
be-simkhah
“happily” / “gladly”

211.        באדיבות
be-adivut
“generously”

212.        בכנות
be-kenut
“honestly” / “sincerely”

213.        בטבעיות
be-tiv’i’yut
“naturally”

214.        נקי
naki
“cleanly”

215.        באופן מוזר
be-ofen muzar
“strangely”

216.        מהר
maher
“quick”

217.        לאט
le’at
“slow”

218.        חזק
khazak
“strongly”

219.        חלש
khalash
“weakly”

220.        ברעב
be-ra’av
“hungrily”

221.        ביחד
be-yakhad
“together”

222.        לבד
levad
“alone”

223.        בפנים
bi-fnim
“indoors” / “inside”

224.        בחוץ
ba-khutz
“outdoors” / “outside”

225.        בבית
ba-bayit
“at home”

226.        ברחוב
ba-rekhov
“in/on the street”

227.        בפומבי
be-fumbi
“in public”

228.        בפרטיות
bi-fratiyut
“privately” / “in private”

229.        לפנים
le’fanim
“forward”

230.        לאחור
le’akhor
“backward”

231.        למעלה
lema’alah
“up”

232.        למטה
lematah
“down”

233.        הצידה
hatzidah
“laterally” / “sideways”

234.        תמיד
tamid
“always”

235.        אף פעם
af pa’am
“never”

236.        לעיתים קרובות
le-‘itim krovot
“frequently”

237.        לעיתים רחוקות
le-‘itim rekhokot
“seldom”

238.        מיד
miyad
“immediately”

239.        מדי פעם
midey pa’am
“once in a while”

240.        כמעט
kim’at
“almost”

241.        די
dey
“quite”

242.        בהחלט
be-hekhlet
“absolutely”

243.        לגמרי
le-gamrei
“totally”

244.        לכל עבר
le-khol ‘ever
“everywhere”

245.        נקודתית
nekudatit
“point by point” / “surgically”

246.        באופן פרטני
be-ofen partani
“one-on-one” / “one-by-one”

247.        באופן ספונטני
be-ofen spontani
“spontaneously”

248.        מרוכז
merukaz
“concentratedly”

249.        מפוזר
mefuzar
“in a scattered way”

250.        בקלות
be-kalut
“easily”

251.        בקושי
be-koshi
“with difficulty”

252.        בחופשיות
be-khofshi’yut
“freely”

7. Prepositions

Boy Giving Book to Girl

The next set of intermediate Hebrew vocabulary words we’ll look at are prepositions, which you won’t get far without in any language. These are the small words we use to describe the relationships between other words, connecting them and giving them nuance, especially in terms of verbs and adjectives. Think of words like “through,” “for,” or “after.” 

English happens to be one of the languages that relies most heavily on prepositions, while Hebrew’s use of them is relatively more limited. Nevertheless, they are still crucial to greasing the wheels of language, so don’t skip them over! You should have learned the basic prepositions by now, but if not or in case you forgot, see more about Hebrew prepositions here.

253.        אחרי
akharey
“after”

254.        מאחורי
me-akhorei
“behind”

255.        אצל
etzel
“at” / “by”

256.        באמצעות
be-emtza’ut
“via”

257.        בגלל
biglal
“because of”

258.        בזכות
bi-zkhut
“thanks to”

259.        בין
bein
“between” / “among”

260.        בלי
bli
“without”

261.        במקום
bi-mkom
“instead of”

262.        בעד
be-‘ad
“for” / “in favor of”

263.        בקרב
be-kerev
“among”

264.        בשביל
bishvil
“for”

265.        בתוך
be-tokh
“inside”

266.        כלפי
klapei
“toward”

267.        כמו
k’mo
“like”

268.        לאורך
le-orekh
“along”

269.        לגבי
legabei
“regarding”

270.        ליד
leyad
“next to”

271.        למען
lema’an
“for the sake of”

272.        לפי
lefi
“according to”

273.        לפני
lifnei
“before” / “in front of”

274.        לקראת
likrat
“toward”

275.        מול
mul
“opposite”

276.        מעל
me-‘al
“atop”

277.        מפני
mipnei
“because of”

278.        מתחת
mitakhat
“beneath”

279.        עבור
‘avur
“for”

280.        לעומת
le‘umat
“in comparison with” / “versus”

8. Conjunctions

Two Girls Reading Book

Now let’s see some of the most common conjunctions that you should start learning as an intermediate student of Hebrew. Conjunctions are similar to prepositions, but we use them to connect clauses or sentences as well as to coordinate words within the same clause. Think of words like “and,” “or,” or “but” in English.

281.        אבל
aval
“however”

282.        עדיין
‘adayin
“still”

283.        בזמן ש…
bi-zman she…
“while”

284.        …כש
ke’she…
“when”

285.        …אף על פי ש
af ‘al pi she…
“even though”

286.        בגלל
biglal
“due to”

287.        למרות
lamrot
“despite”

288.        אך
akh
“however”

289.        אפילו
afilu
“even”

290.        אלא אם כן
ela im ken
“unless”

9. Auxiliary Words and Particles

Woman with Question Marks above Head

Last but not least, let’s look at some of the essential auxiliary words and particles for intermediate-level Hebrew. Particles are essentially words with a distinct grammatical function that, despite this, do not comfortably fit into the main parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.). Note that Hebrew has some words that have no parallel in English, such as the ubiquitous את (et – see more here). It’s best not to try to translate these—or language in general—and rather to pay attention to their function and how natives seem to use them.

291.        יש+
yesh
“there is” / “there are”

292.        אין
ein
“there is not” / “there are not”

*Note that Hebrew has no verb for “to have.” Instead, it uses יש and אין followed by a preposition-personal pronoun word such as לי (li, “to/for me”) or לך (lekha, “to/for you”) to express ownership or possession.

293.        הלוואי
halevai
“if only”

294.        הן
hen
“both”

*This word almost always appears twice in a sentence and is somewhat akin to “both… and” in English.

295.        יא
ya
“you”

*This word means “you” when you’re calling or referring to someone with an additional descriptor or moniker. Here’s an example:

  • למה אתה לא עוזר לי, יא עצלן?
    Lamah atah lo ‘ozer li, ya ‘atzlan?
    “Why don’t you help me, you lazybones?”

296.        זהו
zehu
“that’s it” / “this is”

297.        מיהו
mihu
“who is”

298.        כלום
klum
“nothing”

299.        כזה
kazeh
“such as this”

300.        הינה
hine
“here is” / “here are”

*Note the difference between יש (yeish, “there is” / “there are”) and הינה (hinei, “here is” / “here are”).

10. HebrewPod101 is your one-stop destination for all your Hebrew needs.

We hope you found today’s lesson helpful. Did you know any of these intermediate Hebrew words already, or were they all new to you? 

Obviously, with some estimates placing Hebrew’s total lexis at 60,000 words, studying vocabulary should be an ongoing pursuit for any Hebrew student. That said, you can get pretty far if you focus on the most common and useful words first, as you can often figure out more esoteric words from context.

We hand-picked the words in this lesson based on their frequency and utility in Modern Hebrew, so you can be sure that they’ll help you with everyday conversations and even things like understanding Hebrew movies or music. As always, our mission at HebrewPod101 is to encourage and support you throughout your language learning journey. We want you not only to succeed in your Hebrew goals, but also to enjoy your studies every step of the way.

To that end, we’re always delighted to hear from our students. Were there any words you’re still unsure of? Any words that you’ve encountered before, but couldn’t decipher on your own? Or maybe there’s a topic you’d like us to cover in a future vocabulary lesson. Whatever it may be, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get in touch with us. Our team of Hebrew experts is happy to help. In the meantime, shalom!

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Learn the Names of Animals in Hebrew

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Does a whole lesson on animals in Hebrew seem like a bunch of monkey business to you? Well, we’re not horsing around today! As any schoolchild knows, animal names are a basic component of any language. And in Hebrew, there are some particular reasons this is true. First, as a country that engages heavily in agriculture, Israel is full of domesticated animals (particularly in the country, as well as in kibbutzim and moshavim). Secondly, Israel’s natural fauna abounds, including some animals that are indigenous to Israel. And finally, the Bible itself mentions over 120 species of animals, so many of the Hebrew animal names go back thousands of years.

An additional reason to learn Hebrew words for animals is that Israelis are big pet lovers. Around a third of Israelis have some sort of pet, with dogs and cats taking the lead. Still, there is no shortage of other animals, like birds, reptiles, and rodents, to be found in Israeli homes. 

Whatever the case may be, it’s always good to rest the brain from grammar and other serious linguistic endeavors once in a while and to just have fun!

Today’s lesson will cover the top 80 Hebrew animal names and words related to animals, including some key animal body parts and a few common expressions related to animals. Don’t chicken out now! You don’t have to learn all 80 at once. Just pick a handful at a time, and stay focused on those. The lion’s share of these words are easy enough to pronounce and remember, so let’s jump in and grab this bull by the horns!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Pets (חיות מחמד, khayot makhmad)
  2. Farm Animals (חיות משק, khayot meshek)
  3. Wild Animals (חיות בר, khayot bar)
  4. Marine Life (החיים הימיים, Ha-Khayim ha-yamiyim)
  5. Insects (חרקים, kharakim)
  6. Birds (ציפורים, tziporim), Reptiles (זוחלים, zokhalim) & Amphibians (דו-חיים, du-khayim)
  7. Animal Body Parts (חלקי גוף של בעלי חיים, khelkey guf shel ba’aley khayim)
  8. Animal-Related Idioms & Slang
  9. No need to go lone wolf with your Hebrew! Let HebrewPod101 get you to the head of the pack.

1. Pets (חיות מחמד, khayot makhmad)

Pets

The most obvious place to start is with pets. After all, these are the animals most of us are likely to encounter on a daily basis. Israel is very much a pet-friendly society, with Tel Aviv even hosting a festival just for dogs! Israelis’ top choices for pets won’t strike you as much of a surprise, as they’re pretty much in line with Western pets. 

Now, let’s have a look at the most common pets in Hebrew. Note that in many cases, these words are gendered, so you want to try to use the correct form—either masculine or feminine—depending on the gender of the animal.

1. כלב/ה
kelev/kalbah
“dog”

2. חתול/חתולה
khatul/khatulah
“cat”

3. דג
dag
“fish”

4. אוגר
oger
“hamster”

5. עכבר
‘akhbar
“mouse”

6. ציפור
tzipor
“bird”
* Note that this word is always feminine.

7. תוכי
tuki
“parrot”

8. יונה
yonah
“dove”

9. צב
tzav
“turtle”

10. נחש
nakhash
“snake”

2. Farm Animals (חיות משק, khayot meshek)

Man Plowing with Oxen

Are you interested in singing Israel’s equivalent of Old MacDonald (לדוד משה היתה חווה – Le-Dod Mosheh haytah khavah – “Uncle Moshe Had a Farm”)? Or are you considering spending some time in a kibbutz? In either case, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the more common domesticated animals you’re likely to find in a farm setting. 

Israel is a heavily agricultural country, so you can expect to see little farms anywhere outside of the big cities. Here are the top farm animals in Hebrew. Note that in some cases, the masculine and feminine words are completely different (like “cow” and “bull” in English).

11. פרה
parah
“cow”

12. שור
shor
“bull”/”ox”
* Note that the word for livestock in Hebrew is בקר (bakar).

13. חזיר/חזירה
khazir/khazirah
“pig”

14. חמור/אתון
khamor/aton
“donkey”

15. תרנגול/תרנגולת
tarnegol/tarnegolet
“rooster”/”hen”

16. ברווז
barvaz
“duck”

17. סוס/סוסה
sus/susah
“horse”

18. תיש/עז
tayish/ ‘ez
“goat”

19. כבש/כבשה
keves/kivsah
“sheep”
* Note that the word for “flock(s)” of sheep or goats in Hebrew is צאן (tzon).

20. תרנגול הודו
tarnegol Hodu
“turkey” (literally: “Indian chicken” – There would seem to be some disagreement over the geographical origins of this bird!)

3. Wild Animals (חיות בר, khayot bar)

Lion hunting zebras

Now let’s have a look at some of the most popular wild animals. You can see some of these at Israel’s various nature reserves (such as Ein Gedi) or at the singular Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. Unfortunately, due to the density of its population, many species indigenous to Israel—such as mountain gazelles and ibexes—are less common a sight than in times past. Hopefully, conservation efforts will manage to preserve these species not only in zoos and safaris but also in the wild. 

Here are the names of common wild animals in Hebrew:

21. נמר/ה
namer/nemerah
“tiger”

22. פיל/ה
pil/pilah
“elephant”

23. דוב/ה
dov/dubah
“bear”

24. שועל
Shu’al
“fox”

25. תן
tan
“jackal”

26. היפופוטם
hipopotam
“hippopotamus”

27. ג’ירפה
jirafah
“giraffe”

28. אריה/לביאה
aryeh/levi’ah
“lion”/”lioness”

29. צבי/איילה
tzvi/ayala
“gazelle”

30. יעל
ya’el
“ibex”

4. Marine Life (החיים הימיים, Ha-Khayim ha-yamiyim)

Sea Shells

As you probably know, Israel enjoys access to two different coastlines—the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Eilat (a.k.a. the Gulf of Aqaba)—as well as the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both of which are actually large lakes. Going to the beach is a huge part of Israeli culture, so it’s a good idea to brush up on some of the top words for marine animals. Let’s have a look!

31. כריש
karish
“shark”

32. לוויתן
livyatan
“whale”
* Note that this Hebrew word is the root of English’s leviathan.

33. דולפין
dolfin
“dolphin”

34. תמנון
tamnun
“octopus”

35. חסילון
khasilon
“shrimp”

36. סוסון ים
suson yam
“seahorse”

37. סרטן
sartan
“crab”
* Note that this word also means cancer.

38. אלמוג
almog
“coral”

39. מדוזה
meduzah
“jellyfish”

40. אצות
atzot
“algae”

5. Insects (חרקים, kharakim)

Insects

No examination of Hebrew animal words would be complete without a discussion of insects and other creepy-crawlies. Israel is no stranger to bugs, whether in terms of the locusts and lice mentioned in the Bible, the malarial mosquitoes that plagued modern settlers in the pre-state years, or the ticks that our dogs and cats bring home from the woods. Here are the top words you need to know for naming insects in Hebrew.

41. מקק
makak
“cockroach”
* Note that the word ג’וק (juk) can also be used to refer to cockroaches.

42. עכביש
‘akavish
“spider”

43. זבוב
zevuv
“fly”

44. יתוש
yatush
“mosquito”

45. קרציה
kartzi’yah
“tick”

46. שפירית
shapirit
“dragonfly”

47. גחלילית
gakh’lilit
“firefly”

48. עקרב
‘akrav
“scorpion”

49. דבורה
d’vorah
“bee”

50. צרעה
tzir’ah
“wasp”

6. Birds (ציפורים, tziporim), Reptiles (זוחלים, zokhalim) & Amphibians (דו-חיים, du-khayim)

For our last category of animal names in Hebrew, let’s take a glance at the most common birds, reptiles, and amphibians you’re likely to encounter in the Holy Land. 

Because of Israel’s location smack-dab in the middle of where Europe, Asia, and Africa meet, countless birds fly through the country each year on their migration paths—apart from the many native bird species living in Israel. In fact, Israeli aircraft are even forbidden from interfering with the flight paths of migratory birds!

Israel is also no stranger to reptiles, with 97 distinct species represented in the country. Though extinction rates have been relatively low for reptiles, crocodiles, which are mentioned in the Bible as being indigenous to Israel, are today no longer among Israel’s wild species—for better or worse!

A- Birds

Birds Silhouetted in Sky

51. שחף
shakhaf
“seagull”

52. ינשוף
yanshuf
“owl”

53. נשר
nesher
“eagle”

54. נקר
nakar
“woodpecker”

55. עיט
‘ayit
“vulture”

B- Reptiles & Amphibians

Lizard

56. צפרדע
tzfarde’a
“frog”

57. לטאה
leta’ah
“lizard”

58. שממית
smamit
“gecko”

59. צב יבשה
tzav yabashah
“tortoise”

60. סלמנדרה
salamandrah
“salamander”

7. Animal Body Parts (חלקי גוף של בעלי חיים, khelkey guf shel ba’aley khayim)

Vet Examining Dog

Now that we’ve covered the more common animal species to be found in Israel, let’s have a look at some words for describing animal anatomy. As in English and most other languages, Hebrew has unique words to refer to the body parts of fauna, distinct from those used to describe the human body. Here are the ones you are most likely to use:

61. כנף
kanaf
“wing”
* Note that the plural for this word uses the dual form suffix -יים, and is כנפיים (kenafayim).

62. זנב
zanav
“tail”

63. טופר
tofer
“claw”

64. קרן
keren
“horn”
* Note that the plural for this word uses the dual form suffix -יים, and is קרניים (karnayim).

65. נוצה
notzah
“feather”

66. פרסה
parsah
“hoof”

67. חוטם
khotem
“snout”

68. מקור
makor
“beak”

69. קשקש
kaskas
“scale”

70. צדף
tzedef
“shell”

Want more? See our word list Sounds That Animals Make

8. Animal-Related Idioms & Slang

Black and White Sheep

Last but not least, let’s see some idioms, slang words, and other expressions that use animal names in Hebrew. Like English, the Hebrew language has a slew of such words and phrases. This should come as no surprise, considering the Jewish people’s ancient roots in farming and husbandry. In fact, animal-related language is probably one of the most colorful categories of Hebrew. Let’s see some choice examples.

71. כבשה שחורה
kivsah sh’khorah
“black sheep”

  • כולנו במשפחה למדנו באוניברסיטה חוץ מאחותי, הכבשה השחורה, אשר עובדת בבסטות בחו”ל כבר חמש שנים.
    Kulanu ba-mishpakhah lamadnu ba-universitah khutz me-akhoti, ha-kivsah ha-sh’khorah, asher ‘ovedet be-bastot be-khul kvar khamesh shanim.
    “All of us in the family studied at university except for my sister, the black sheep, who has been working in market stalls abroad for five years now.”

72. כמו דג במים
k’mo dag ba-mayim
“like a fish in water”

  • כל פעם שאני חוזר לקיבוץ, אני מרגיש כמו דג במים.
    Kol pa’am she-ani khozer la-kibbutz, ani margish k’mo dag ba-mayim.
    “Every time I go back to the kibbutz, I feel just like a fish in water.”

73. להשתפן
lehishtafen
“to chicken out” (literally: “to act like a rabbit”)

  • אל תשתפן! קפוץ כבר! המים עמוקים.
    Al tishtafen! Kfotz kvar! Ha-mayim ‘amukim.
    “Don’t chicken out! Jump already! The water is deep.”

74. דיר חזירים
dir khazirim
“pigsty”

  • אמרתי לכם לנקות כבר את דיר החזירים הזה!
    Amarti lakhem lenakot kvar et dir ha-khazirim ha-zeh!
    “I told you to clean up this pigsty already!”

75. מבט ממעוף ציפור
mabat mi-me’of tzipor
“bird’s eye view”

  • איזה נוף! יש לנו מבט ממעוף הציפור על כל העיר.
    Eyzeh nof! Yeish lanu mabat mi-ma’of ha-tzipor al kol ha-’ir.
    “What a view! We’ve got a bird’s eye view of the entire city.”

76. כמעוף הדבורה
ke-ma’of ha-devorah
“beeline”

  • מתחיל כבר להחשיך. רוצי הביתה כמעוף הדבורה!
    Matkhil kvar le-hakhshikh. Rutzi ha-baytah ke-ma’of ha-devorah!
    “It’s getting dark already. Run and make a beeline for home!”

77. חזק כשור
khazak kmo shor
“strong as an ox”

  • ראית את העובד החדש במחסן? הוא חזר כשור!
    Ra’it et ha-’oved ha-khadash ba-makhsan? Hu khazak kmo shor!
    “Have you seen the new employee in the warehouse? He’s strong as an ox!”

78. שעיר לעזאזל
sa’ir la-’Azazel
“scapegoat”

  • אל תנסו לעשות ממני שעיר לעזאזל. מה שקרה זה לא באשמתי.
    Al tenasu la’asot mimeni sa’ir la-’Azazel. Mah she-karah zeh lo be-ashmati.
    “Don’t try to make a scapegoat out of me. What happened isn’t my fault.”

79. נחש בעשב
nakhash ba-‘esev
“snake in the grass”

  • אני לא סומך עליו בכלל. הוא סתם עוד נחש בעשב.
    Ani lo somekh ‘alav bikhlal. Hu stam ‘od nakhash ba-’esev.
    “I don’t trust him at all. He’s just another snake in the grass.”

80. החלק הארי
ha-khelek ha-ari
“the lion’s share”

  • בואו נודה בכך שדפנה עשתה את החלק הארי של העבודה.
    Bo’u nodeh be-khakh she-Dafnah ‘astah et ha-khelek ha-ari shel ha-’avodah.
    “Let’s just admit that Dafna did the lion’s share of the work.”

9. No need to go lone wolf with your Hebrew! Let HebrewPod101 get you to the head of the pack.

We hope you enjoyed today’s lesson on animals in the Hebrew language. We here at HebrewPod101 know that sometimes studying a new language can make you feel like you’re a fish out of water, but that’s why we’re here: to make sure you’ve got a school to swim with. Our lessons are carefully crafted to cover all the topics you’ll need to master on your language learning journey while having a whale of a time.

So don’t sweat it! Just remember that mastering a language, like any large and long-term project, is best done a bit at a time. Whether it’s vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation, we always encourage our students not to bite off more than they can chew in one sitting. Just pick a reasonable amount of language and, once you’ve gone through it, make sure to review everything! 

Have fun checking out our thousands of other written and audiovisual lessons, where we cover a broad range of topics and situations, from ordering at a restaurant to the top Hebrew-language music artists and TV shows.

Before you go: What’s your favorite animal? Do you remember its name in Hebrew?

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A Guide to Hebrew Phone Words and Phrases

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Does the thought of having a phone conversation in a foreign language put you on edge?

Making and receiving phone calls in one’s mother tongue can be stressful enough, but doing so in a foreign language represents a particular brand of challenge. In fact, it’s rather common to feel comfortable having an in-person conversation in a foreign language but to become shaky when it comes to handling phone calls in that language. If you give it a bit of thought, it’s easy to see why a Hebrew phone conversation may be a taller order for language learners than a face-to-face conversation.

For starters, experts claim that much of our communication is non-verbal. In the context of a traditional phone call, you can see just how tricky things can get when we’re confined to abstract spoken language, without the ability to reference non-verbal cues such as facial expressions or hand gestures. This is particularly true in the Middle East, where locals tend to use their hands as moving punctuation marks. While the increasing availability of video call technology means you might be lucky enough to see your interlocutor, there’s no indication that the old-fashioned phone call is going anywhere soon. It’s a good idea to learn phone call phrases and to practice phone conversations in Hebrew so you’re well-prepared when the moment comes.

Phone calls also tend to be more difficult as they introduce added potential for external communication obstacles. Depending on the devices being used for the call, any existing background or ambient noise, the speakers’ voices and volume level, and the quality of the connection itself, you may well be straining to hear or understand your interlocutor. Of course, you’ll want to ensure you can have a clear connection when you do conduct Hebrew phone calls, but practicing phone call-related language can help you “fill in the blanks,” even when the connection isn’t great or the speaker is a low talker.

In today’s lesson, we’ll take a look at the top 30 phrases for having a telephone conversation in Hebrew, including how to introduce yourself, how to ask to speak with someone, how to ask for clarification or repetition, and, of course, how to wrap things up at the end of a call. By the time you finish reading, you’ll have all the tools you need to effectively communicate over the phone in Hebrew!

Woman at Computer on Phone
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating/Asking the Reason for the Call
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending the Phone Call
  9. Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Phone a friend: You can call on HebrewPod101 to help you learn all the Hebrew you’ll ever need.

1. Picking up the Phone

Close Up of Woman Answering Phone

The first set of Hebrew phone call phrases you ought to study are the greetings. 

When the phone rings, you want to feel totally comfortable picking it up, regardless of who may be at the other end of the line or what time of day it is. 

While there are numerous ways to answer the phone or begin a conversation when someone else picks up, the following is a solid list of common words and phrases for picking up the phone in Hebrew. You can use the first two at any time, while the following three are time-specific. 

Note the particular way Israelis pronounce the first word, with a short “a” sound like that in “car.”

1. הלו?
Halo? (*can often sound more like “alo”)
“Hello?”

2. שלום
Shalom
“Hello” (literally: “Peace”)

3. בוקר טוב
Boker tov
“Good morning”

4. צהריים טובים
Tzohorayim tovim
“Good afternoon”

5. ערב טוב
Erev tov
“Good evening”

2. Saying Who You Are

Man Activating Headset

Now that you know how to answer the phone in Hebrew, the next step is learning to introduce yourself properly. As in English-speaking and other cultures, it is customary for the caller to identify themselves after using one of the greetings above. 

Once again, there are multiple ways to do this. For the purposes of today’s lesson, we’ll just look at the more common and basic forms used for self-introductions over the phone. Obviously, you would fill in the blank in any of these options with your own name. 

It’s worth noting that there is nothing wrong with identifying yourself first and then using one of the above greetings as an alternative way of answering the phone. Note that Hebrew syntax can be quite different from what we’re used to in English, as you’ll see in some of the examples below where the subject comes after the verb or adverb.

6. כאן ____.
Kan ____.
“____ here.”

  • כאן רות.
    Kan Rut.
    “Ruth here.”

7. מדבר/ת _____.
Medaber/et _____.
“This is _____ speaking.”

  • מדבר שי.
    Medaber Shai.
    “This is Shai speaking.”
  • מדברת ליאת.
    Medaberet Li’at.
    “This is Liat speaking.”

8. זה/זו _____.
Zeh/zo ___.
“This is ____.”

  • זה חנן.
    Zeh Khanan.
    “This is Chanan.”
  • זו שלומית.
    Zo Shlomit.
    “This is Shlomit.”

9. שמי ____.
Shemi _____.
“My name is _____.”

  • שמי דנה.
    Shemi Danah.
    “My name is Dana.”

3. Stating/Asking the Reason for the Call

Man on Phone Writing on Notepad

Next, we’ll typically indicate the reason for our call if we’re the one who initiated contact, or else we may ask the caller what they need or how we can help. This is true whether we’re calling a government agency for public information or if we’re dialing a friend to see if they feel like going to the park to play soccer. 

There are a multitude of possibilities here, but let’s have a look at the top ways to state or ask the reason for a phone call in Hebrew.

10. הגעתי ל_____?
Higa’ti l_____?
“Is this _____?”

  • הגעתי לשרות לקוחות?
    Higa’ti le-sherut lekokhot?
    “Is this customer service?”

11. רציתי לדעת אם _____.
Ratziti lada’at im ____.
“I’d like to know if ____.”

  • רציתי לדעת אם יש לכם תוכנית תשלומים.
    Ratziti lada’at im yeish lakhem tokhnit tashlumim.
    “I’d like to know if you offer a payment plan.”

12. אני מתקשר/ת אל ____ בחזרה.
Ani mitkasher/et el _____ be-khazarah.
“I’m returning ______’s call.”

  • אני מתקשר אל רון בחזרה.
    Ani mitkasher el Ron be-khazarah.
    “I’m returning Ron’s call.”

13. במה אוכל לעזור לך?
Be-mah ukhal la’azor lekha/lakh?
“How can I help you?”

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

Man Pointing to Cell Phone

Oftentimes, we place a call intending to reach someone in particular. However, we may or may not reach that person directly. If someone else picks up the phone, we want to be equipped with the proper language to ask for the person we’re calling. Here are some of the more common ways of doing so in Hebrew. Note that the final option is a good one when we’re looking for a specific department or office rather than a specific person.

14. אפשר לדבר עם _____?
Efshar ledaber ‘im ____?
“Could I speak to ____?”

  • אפשר לדבר עם חגית?
    Efshar ledaber ‘im Khagit?
    “Could I speak to Chagit?”

15. אני מחפש/ת את ____.
Ani mekhapes/et et ____.
“I’m looking for ____.”

  • אני מחפשת את שירלי.
    Ani mekhapeset et Shirli.
    “I’m looking for Shirli.”

16. האם ____ נמצא/ת?
Ha’im ______ nimtza/nimtzeit?
“Is _____ there?”

  • האם יגאל נמצא?
    Ha’im Yig’al nimtza?
    “Is Yigal there?”

17. תוכל/י להעביר אותי ל____?
Tukhal/Tukhli leha’avir oti le-_____?
“Could you transfer me to _____?”

  • תוכלי להעביר אותי למחלקת התלונות שלכם?
    Tukhli leha’avir oti le-makhleket ha-telunot shelakhem?
    “Could you transfer me to your complaints department?

5. Asking Someone to Wait

Woman with Phone Checking Watch

If we pick up the phone and the caller is seeking a specific department or person, we may need to ask them to wait while we transfer them to the right place. Alternatively, we may be asked to wait for the person, department, or office we’re trying to reach. In either case, we’d be wise to have a strong grasp of the relevant language for such a situation. Here are some common ways to handle it.

18. רק רגע, בבקשה.
Rak rega’, bevakashah.
“Just a moment, please.”

19. המתן/המתיני על הקו בבקשה.
Hamten/Hamtini ‘al ha-kav bevakashah.
“Please hold the line.”

20. אל תנתק/תנתקי בבקשה.
Al tenatek/tenatki bevakashah.
“Don’t hang up, please.”

6. Leaving a Message

Finger Pressing Keypad on Phone

Another key skill for good Hebrew phone conversations is asking to leave a message, which more often than not entails asking the person we were looking for to call us back. Here are some of the top ways to do this in Hebrew.

21. אפשר להשאיר לו/לה הודעה?
Efshar lehashir lo/lah hoda’ah?
“Can I leave him/her a message?”

22. תוכל/י לומר לו/לה שיחזור/שתחזור אליי?
Tukhal/Tukhli lomar lo/lah she-yakhzor/she-takhzor elay?
“Could you have him/her call me back?”

23. אנא התקשר/י אליי מאוחר יותר.
Ana hitkasher/hitkashri elay me’ukhar yoter.
“Please call me back later.”

7. Asking for Clarification

Woman on Phone with Palm against Forehead

Now that we’ve seen some essential language for Hebrew phone calls, let’s look at a crucial element of any conversation: asking for clarification. 

Whether due to a lack of experience making phone calls in Hebrew, the technical nature of our phone call, or even a bad connection, we may find ourselves unable to understand what was just said on the phone. In any event, it’s always good to know how to ask the other person to repeat or clarify what they’ve said. 

Here are the more common ways of asking for clarification during Hebrew phone conversations.

24. תוכל/תוכלי לחזור על זה שוב?
Tukhal/Tukhli lakhzor ‘al zeh shuv?
“Could you repeat that?”

25. לא שומעים טוב. עוד פעם?
Lo shom’im tov. ‘Od pa’am?
“I can’t hear you well. What was that?”

26. סליחה. שוב?
Slikhah. Shuv?
“Sorry. Come again?”

8. Ending the Phone Call

Phone being Hung Up

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to know how to wrap up a phone call in Hebrew. The best way to do so will vary depending on the circumstances of the call in question, so here are four phrases you can draw on when you’re winding down a phone call.

27. תודה. עזרת לי מאוד.
Todah. Azarta/Azart li me’od.
“Thanks. You’ve been a great help.”

28. אז נדבר ____.
Az nedaber ____.
“So let’s speak ____.”

29. שיהיה לך יום נעים/ערב טוב.
She-yehiyeh lekha/lakh yom na’im/’erev tov.
“Have a nice day/good night.”

30. להתראות.
Lehitra’ot.
“Goodbye.” / “See you later.”

9. Sample Phone Conversations

Cell Phone with Different Icons Hovering above It

Now let’s piece it all together and have a look at a couple of brief sample Hebrew phone conversations, one informal and the other formal. Even though Hebrew does not use different grammar to distinguish between higher and lower registers (like Spanish and French do, for instance), it’s possible to adopt a more or less formal tone based on word choice, much the way English works.

The first conversation is between two friends, so the tone is familiar and friendly. The second call simulates making a reservation at a restaurant, so you’ll note that the tone is slightly more formal. That said, most spoken Modern Hebrew is relatively informal compared to other languages, even in exchanges between strangers.

1. Shai makes plans to get together with a friend

Man Holding Schedule

-הלו?
Halo?
“Hello?”

-שלום, רון. זה שי.
Shalom, Ron. Zeh Shai.
“Hi, Ron. This is Shai.”

-היי, שי. מה נשמע?
Hay, Shai. Mah nishmah?
“Hi, Shai. What’s up?”

-הכל טוב. מה איתך?
Ha-kol tov. Mah itkha?
“Everything’s good. What’s up with you?”

-אצלי הכל בסדר. תודה. מה קורה?
Etzli ha-kol beseder. Todah. Mah koreh?
“Everything’s good with me. Thanks. What’s going on?”

-רציתי לדעת אם בא לך לצאת לאכול בסופ”ש.
Ratziti lada’at im ba lekha latzeit le’ekhol ba-sofash.
“I wanted to know if you feel like going out for brunch this weekend.”

-וואלה. אשמח. אל תנתק, אני רק בודק את היומן שלי.
Wallah. Esmakh. Al tenatek. Ani rak bodek et ha-yoman sheli.
“Yeah. I’d be happy to. Don’t hang up. I’m just checking my schedule.”

-אוקיי.
Okay.
“Okay.”

-אז אני פנוי בשבת בבוקר מ-11:00 והלאה.
Az ani panuy be-Shabbat ba-boker me-akhat-esreh ve-hal’ah.
“So, I’m free Saturday morning from 11:00 onwards.”

-אחלה, בא נקבע ל-11:30 במקום הקבוע שלנו.
Akhlah, bo nikba’ le-akhat-esreh-va-khetzi ba-makom ha-kavu’a shelanu.
“Great, let’s set it for 11:30 in our usual place.”

-בסדר גמור. רשמתי.
Be-seder gamur. Rashamti.
“Absolutely. I wrote it down.”

-יופי. אז נדבר בסופ”ש.
Yofi. Az nedaber ba-sofash.
“Nice. So let’s talk this weekend.”

-נשמע טוב, חבר. שיהיה לך ערב טוב.
Nishma’ tov, khaver. She-yihiyeh lekha ‘erev tov.
“Sounds good, buddy. Have a good evening.”

-גם לך. להתראות.
Gam lekha. Lehitra’ot.
“You too. See you.”

2. Shai reserves a table at Lavan Restaurant

Waiter Holding Plates

-שלום. הגעתי למסעדת לבן?
Shalom. Higa’ti le-mis’edet Lavan?
“Hello. Is this the Lavan Restaurant?”

-צהריים טובים. כן, כאן לירון במסעדת לבן. במה אוכל לעזור לך?
Tzohorayim tovim. Ken, kan Liron mi-mis’edet Lavan- Be-mah ukhal la’azor lekha?
“Good afternoon. Yes, this is Liron at Lavan. How can I help you?”

-אני רוצה להזמין שולחן לשניים בבקשה.
Ani rotzeh lehazmin shulkhan le-shnayim bevakashah.
“I’d like to reserve a table for two, please.”

-אין בעיה. יום ושעה, בבקשה?
Ein ba’ayah. Yom ve-sha’ah bevakashah?
“No problem. Day and time, please?”

-יום שבת ב-11:30. על שם שי בבקשה.
Yom Shabbat be-akhat-esreh va-khetzi. ‘Al shem Shai bevakashah.
“Saturday at 11:30. Under Shai, please.”

-אוקיי, אני רושמת. זהו, רשום. עוד משהו?
Okay, ani roshemet. Zehu, rashum. ‘Od mashehu?
“Okay, I’m entering it in. That’s it, you’re registered. Anything else?”

-כן, רק הייתי רוצה לבקש את השולחן בפינה, עם נוף לעמק.
Ken, rak hayiti rotzeh levakesh et ha-shulkhan ba-pinah, ‘im nof la-’emek.
“Yes, I’d just like to ask for the table in the corner, with a view of the valley.”

-אוקיי, הוספתי הערה.
Okay, hosafti he’arah.
“Okay, I’ve added a note.”

-אחלה. תודה, עזרת לי מאוד.
Akhlah. Todah, azart li me’od.
“Great. Thanks, you’ve been very helpful.”

-אין על מה. תודה ונכחה לכם בשבת ב-11:30.
Ein ‘al mah. Todah ve-nekhakeh lakhem be-Shabbat be-akhat-esreh-va-khetzi.
“No problem. Thanks, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing you on Saturday at 11:30.”

-להתראות.
Lehitra’ot.
“Goodbye.”

-ביי.
Bay.
“Bye.”

10. Phone a friend: You can call on HebrewPod101 to help you learn all the Hebrew you’ll ever need.

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson on how to have a Hebrew phone conversation. Obviously, the more you improve your Hebrew, the more comfortable you’ll be both speaking by phone and understanding the person on the other end of the line. That said, it’s always great to practice specific situations with the right vocabulary, particularly ones you tend to get stressed over.

HebrewPod101 is here to offer you a wealth of resources to prepare you for speaking and understanding Hebrew in any situation you may face, whether it’s related to work, school, travel, family, friends, or even romance. Check out our site, and you’ll find an endless variety of lessons hand-crafted to equip you with all the language you’ll need to speak with fluency and confidence. 

As always, we’re happy to hear from you if you feel we’ve missed anything or if you’d like us to clarify something we covered.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 220 Hebrew Words for Beginners

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Compared to languages like English and French, Hebrew has relatively fewer words. According to the Hebrew Language Academy, Hebrew has an estimated 75,000-85,000 lexemes, or abstract lexical units roughly corresponding to the entries you’d expect to find in a dictionary. 

But where does one start? 

Fear not! Today, HebrewPod101 is going to introduce you to the top 220 basic Hebrew words for beginners. We’ve included everything from pronouns to conjunctions and categorized our lists to cover various everyday topics. By the time you reach the end, you’ll be well-equipped to manage yourself in any situation!

To make it easier for you to learn these Hebrew words for beginners, we suggest that you don’t attempt to learn all of them in one go. Rather, pick a category or two, and start practicing them. If you need tips on some good and creative ways to practice your Hebrew, check out this article and this one for some ideas.

Before we plunge right in, don’t forget that no matter how you choose to practice the Hebrew vocabulary you pick up, the key is exposure and repetition. The more you read, hear, speak, and write a word, the easier it will be for you to retain it and to recall it on demand in a real-life situation. Make sure you review the new words you learn! 

Now, without further ado, let’s have a look at the top Hebrew beginner words.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Words for Describing the Weather
  7. Conjunctions
  8. Bonus: Words That Only Exist in the Hebrew Language
  9. Let HebrewPod101 Help You with the Basics

1. Pronouns

Arrow Made of People Figurines

A solid place to start (if admittedly not the most glamorous) is with the pronouns. These are words that we use to substitute for a noun, like when we replace “the boy” with “he.” Pronouns should be part of any beginner’s toolkit, as they enable you to refer to all sorts of people, places, and things, even if you don’t know or remember the precise word. After all, sometimes the only words you need are “this” and “that”!

Note that in Hebrew, nouns, pronouns, verb conjugations, and adjectives are both gendered and numbered. So try to keep your male and female pronouns—and any other words you use to go with them—in the correct gender and count!

For more information on Hebrew pronouns, have a look at this lesson.

A. Personal Pronouns

Well-dressed People

Personal pronouns refer to people, specifically, so this is a great place to start. Let’s have a look.

1. אני
ani
“I”

2. אתה
atah
“you” (m.)

3. את
at
“you” (f.)

4. הוא
hu
“he”

5. היא
hi
“she”

6. אנחנו
anakhnu
“we”

7. אתם
atem
“you” (m. pl.)

8. אתן
aten
“you” (f. pl.)

9. הם
hem
“they” (m.)

10. הן
hen
“they” (f.)

B. Demonstrative Pronouns

Student Pointing to Post-its on Blackboard

We use demonstrative pronouns to “point” to things or to distinguish which noun, in particular, we’re referencing. Here are the top demonstrative pronouns in Hebrew:

11. זה
zeh
“this” (m.)

12. זאת
zot
“this” (f.)

13. זו
zo/zu
“this” (f.)

14. אלה
eleh
“those”

15. אלו
elu
“those”

C. Interrogative Pronouns

Blocks with Question Marks

Interrogative pronouns are the ones we use for questions. Here are the most common ones in Hebrew:

16. מה
mah
“what”

17. מי
mi
“who”

18. איפה
eyfoh
“where”

19. איך
eykh
“how”

20. מתי
matay
“when”

21. למה
lamah
“why”

22. למי
le-mi
“for whom”

23. לאן
le’an
“to where”

2. Numbers

Young Girl Counting

Next up, we have a critical category for any new language learner: numbers. In Hebrew specifically, this is a bit of a tricky topic, as there are both masculine and feminine number forms—and the first three numbers in each category look deceptively like the opposite gender! 

But don’t get worked up just yet. 

Even if you just start out by acquiring the masculine form of the numbers 1-10, you’ll definitely be able to get around; people will understand you even if you mistakenly use masculine numbers for feminine nouns. In fact, many native Hebrew speakers make this very mistake themselves!

24. אחת
akhat
“one”

25. שתיים
shtayim
“two”

26. שלוש
shalosh
“three”

27. ארבע
arba’
“four”

28. חמש
khamesh
“five”

29. שש
shesh
“six”

30.שבע
sheva’
“seven”

31. שמונה
shmoneh
“eight”

32. תשע
tesha’
“nine”

33. עשר
‘eser
“ten”

3. Nouns

Apple and Orange

Most of us remember our middle school teacher telling us at some point that nouns refer to “people, places, things, and ideas.” That covers a whole lot of ground, but you won’t get very far in Hebrew (or any language for that matter) without some basic nouns under your belt. Here are some of the most common nouns used in the Hebrew language:

A. Time

Egg Timer

Let’s first look at nouns related both to telling time and to identifying the different times of day. Here we go!

34. שעה
sha’ah
“hour”

35. דקה
dakah
“minute”

36. שנייה
shniyah
“second”

37. רגע
rega’
“moment”

38. בוקר
boker
“morning”

39. צהריים
tzohorayim
“noon”

40. אחר הצהריים
akhar ha-tzohorayim
“afternoon”

41. ערב
‘erev
“evening”

42. לילה
laylah
“night”

43. חצות
khatzot
“midnight”

44. זריחה
z’rikhah
“sunrise”

45. שקיעה
sh’ki’ah
“sunset”

B. Family

Family

Now let’s have a look at another essential noun category for beginner Hebrew, namely nouns that we use to refer to family members.

46. אבא
abba
“father”

47. אמא
imma
“mother”

48. סבא
saba
“grandfather”

49. סבתא
savta
“grandmother”

50. אח
akh
“brother”

51. אחות
akhot
“sister”

52. בן
ben
“son”

53. בת
bat
“daughter”

54. נכד
nekhed
“grandson”

55. נכדה
nekhdah
“granddaughter”

56. דוד
dod
“uncle”

57. דודה
dodah
“aunt”

58. בן דוד
ben dod
“cousin” (m.)

59. בת דודה
bat dodah
“cousin” (f.)

60. אחיין
akhyan
“nephew”

61. אחיינית
akhyanit
“niece”

62. אבא חורג
abba khoreg
abba khoreg

63. אמא חורגת
imma khoreget
“stepmother”

64. אח חורג
akh khoreg
“stepbrother”

65. אחות חורגת
akhot khoreget
“stepsister”

C. Jobs and Professions

Kids Dressed Up as Professionals

Note that both the masculine and the feminine forms, in that order, are shown here. These are typically the same word with slight morphological changes to indicate gender, though there are cases where the word changes completely depending on whether we’re talking about a male or female professional. For example, think of the English word “seamstress,” which is the female counterpart of the male word “tailor.” 

Also note that while English has shifted away from gendered professional titles (think “wait staff” instead of “waiter”/”waitress”), the grammatically gendered nature of the Hebrew language is such that professions remain gendered in almost all cases.

66. חקלאי/ת
khaklay/khakla’it
“farmer”

67. מהנדס/ת
mehandes/mehandeset
“engineer”

68. עורך דין/עורכת דין
orekh din/orekhet din
“lawyer”

69. רופא/ה
rofeh/rof’ah
“doctor”

70. סופר/ת
sofer/soferet
“author”/”writer”

71. חייל/ת
khayal/khayeletkhayal/khayelet
“soldier”

72. מוֹרֶה/מוֹרָה
moreh/morah
“teacher”

73. מוכר/מוכרת
mokher/mokheret
“salesperson”

74. פקיד/פקידה
pakid/p’kidah
“clerk”/”public servant”

75. צייר/ת
tzayar/tzayeret
“painter”

76. שופט/ת
shofet/shofetet
“judge”

77. כבאי/ית
kabay/kaba’it
“firefighter”

78. חשמלאי/ת
khashmala’i/khashmala’it
“electrician”

79. שרברב/ית
sharvrav/shravrabit
“plumber”

80. מלצר/ית
meltzar/meltzarit
“waiter”/”waitress”

81. חייט/תופרת
khayat/toferet
“tailor”/”seamstress”

82. אח/אחות
akh/akhot
“nurse”

83. אוֹפֶה/אוֹפָה
ofeh/ofah
“baker”

84. שף/שפית
shef/shefit
“chef”

85. מזכיר/ה
mazkir/mazkirah
“secretary”

86. ספר/ית
sappar/sapparit
“barber”/”hairdresser”

87. רופא/ת שניים
rofeh/rof’at shinayim
“dentist”

88. בנאי/ת
banay/bana’it
“builder”/”construction worker”

89. פועל/ת
po’el/po’elet
“laborer”/”factory worker”

90. טייס/ת
tayyas/tayyeset
“pilot”

D. Parts of the Body

Hand Touching Neck

Another key group of nouns in Hebrew for beginners are the parts of the body. One thing to note here is that, like Arabic, Hebrew has not only the singular and plural forms, but also a pair form. This form is made by using the suffix -יים (-ayim) and it’s used, among other things, for most body parts that come in pairs (like eyes, ears, and knees).

91. ראש
rosh
“head”

92. גוף
guf
“body”

93. שיער
se’ar
“hair”

94. עיניים
eynayim
“eyes”

95. אוזניים
oznayim
“ears”

96. פה
peh
“mouth”

97. שניים
shinayim
“teeth”

98. שפתיים
sefatayim
“lips”

99. אף
af
“nose”

100. צוואר
tzavar
“neck”

101. כתפיים
k’tefayim
“shoulders”

102. חזה
khazeh
“chest”

103. גב
gav
“back”

104. בטן
beten
“stomach”

105. מתניים
motnayim
“hips”

106. ידיים
yadayim
“hands”/”arms”

107. מרפקים
marpekim
“elbows”

108. פרק יד
perek yad
“wrist”

109. אצבעות
etzba’ot
“fingers”

110. רגליים
raglayim
“legs”/”feet”

111. ירכיים
yerekhayim
“thighs”

112. ברכיים
birkayim
“knees”

113. שוקיים
shokayim
“calves”

114. קרסוליים
karsolayim
“ankles”

115. אצבעות הרגליים
etzba’ot ha-raglayiml
“toes”

116. עקבים
‘akevim’
“heels”

4. Verbs

Track Runners in Race

Now that we’ve seen a fair share of nouns, let’s check out some of the more common verbs you’ll want to know as a beginner Hebrew learner. Remember that verbs are words that describe actions and states of being. We’ve handpicked the most useful verbs for daily activities and situations so that you can easily get by as you start conversing in Hebrew.

As verb conjugation is one of the more challenging aspects of learning Hebrew, one simple trick you can try is to use a simple verb, such as הולך/הולכת (holekh/holeket, “go”) or רוֹצֶה/רוֹצָה (rotzeh/rotzah, “want”), followed by a verb in its infinitive (unconjugated) form to make simple sentences. Note the examples provided with the first two verbs.

For more information on Hebrew verbs, see this lesson.

117. להתעורר
lehit’orer
“to wake up”

  • אני לא רוצה להתעורר.
    Ani lo rotzeh lehit’orer.
    “I don’t want to wake up.”

118. לקום
lakum
“to get up”

  • אני הולכת לקום עכשיו.
    Ani holekhet lakum ‘akhshav.
    “I’m going to get up now.”

119. לאכול
le’ekhol
“to eat”

120. לשתות
lishtot
“to drink”

121. לישון
lishon
“to sleep”

122. ללמוד
lilmod
“to learn” / “to study”

123. לנסוע
linso’a
“to travel”

124. ללכת
lalekhet
“to go” / “to walk”

125. לרוץ
larutz
“to run”

126. לדבר
ledaber
“to talk” / “to speak”

127. לשאול
lishol
“to ask”

128. לענות
la’anot
“to answer”

129. לכתוב
likhtov
“to write”

130. לקרוא
likro
“to read”

131. לחייך
lekhayekh
“to smile”

132. לבכות
livkot
“to cry”

133. לצחוק
litzkhok
“to laugh”

134. לצעוק
litz’ok
“to yell”

135. להתלונן
lehitlonen
“to complain”

136. לשאת ולתת
laset ve-latet
“to negotiate”

137. לקנות
liknot
“to buy”

138. לשאול
lish’ol
“to borrow”

*Note that this is the same verb as “to ask,” which we saw above.

139. להשאיל
lehash’il
“to lend”

140. לקחת
lakakhat
“to take”

141. לתת
latet
“to give”

142. לעשות
la’asot
“to do”

143. לחפש
lekhapes
“to look for” / “to seek”

144. למצוא
limtzo
“to find”

145. לשחות
liskhot
“to swim”

146. לשחק
lesakhek
“to play”

147. לשקר
leshaker
“to lie”

148. לעזור
la’azor
“to help”

149. להפריע
lehafri’a
“to bother” / “to disturb”

150. לבקר
levaker
“to visit”

5. Adjectives

Man Describing Something

While it’s true that you can make simple sentences with just nouns/pronouns and verbs, adjectives are what allow us to start making more complex, specific, and interesting statements and questions. Let’s have a look at some of the most commonly used Hebrew adjectives for beginners.

A. Adjectives for Describing Objects

Sporting Goods

First off, let’s look at some common adjectives we might use to describe everyday objects. Of course, many of these adjectives can be used to describe people as well, just make sure to use the right gender form!

151. גדול/ה
gadol/g’dolah
“big”

152. קטן/קטנה
katan/k’tanah
“small”

153. ארוך/ארוכה
arokh/arukah
“long”

154. קצר/ה
katzar/k’tzarah
“short”

155. כבד/ה
kaved/k’vedah
“heavy”

156. קל/ה
kal/kalah
“light”

157. חדש/ה
khadash/khadashah
“new”

158. ישן/ישנה
yashan/yeshanah
“old”

159. מעניין/מעניינת
me’anyen/me’anyenet
“interesting”

160. משעמם/משעממת
mesha’amem/mesha’amemet
“boring”

161. מיוחד/ת
meyukhad/meyukhedet
“special”

162. רגיל/ה
ragil/regilah
“regular” / “ordinary”

163. יקר/ה
yakar/yekarah
“expensive” / “valuable”

164. זול/ה
zol/zolah
“cheap”

165. נדיר/ה
nadir/nedirah
“rare”

166. נפוץ/נפוצה
nafotz/nefotzah
“common”

B. Adjectives for Describing People

People Standing in Line

Now, let’s see some adjectives that are generally used for describing people and their characteristics. As before, some of these can certainly be used for non-people nouns, too. Just pay attention to the proper gender for whom or what you’re describing.

167. יָפֶה/יָפָה
yafeh/yafah
“handsome” / “pretty”

168. גבוה/גבוהה
gavoha/g’vohah
“tall”

169. נמוך/נמוכה
namukh/nemukhah
“short”

170. רָזֶה/רָזָה
razeh/razah
“thin”

171. שמן/שמנה
shamen/sh’menah
“fat”

172. חכם/חכמה
khakham/khakhamah
“smart”

173. טיפש/טיפשה
tipesh/tipshah
“stupid”

174. אינטליגנטי/ת
inteligenti/inteligentit
“intelligent”

175. חרוץ/חרוצה
kharutz/kharutzah
“hard-working” / “industrious”

176. עצלן/עצלנית
‘atzlan/’atzlanit
“lazy”

177. רציני/ת
retzini/retzinit
“serious”

178. נינוח/ה
nino’akh/ninokhah
“easy-going” / “laid back”

179. משכיל/ה
maskil/maskilah
“educated” / “sage”

180. בור/ה
bur/burah
“ignorant”

C. Adjectives for Describing Emotions

Woman with Flowers Over Eyes

Now, let’s see some adjectives that can help us describe emotions. Some people find it helpful to study these with emoticons or emojis to help them remember which word goes with which emotion.

181. שמח/ה
same’akh/smekhah
“happy”

182. עצוב/ה
‘atzuv/’atzuvah
“sad”

183. מפחד/ת
mefakhed/mefakhedet
“scared”

184. כועס/כועסת
ko’es/ko’eset
“angry” / “upset”

185. בודד/בודדה
boded/bodedah
“lonely”

186. קנאי/ת
kanay/kana’it
“jealous”

187. אופטימי/ת
optimi/optimit
“optimistic” / “hopeful”

188. פסימי/ת
pesimi/pesimit
“pessimistic”

189. מופתע/ת
mufta’/mufta’at
“surprised”

190. בטוח/ה
batu’akh/betukhah
“confident” / “certain”

191. בספק
be-safek
“doubtful”

6. Words for Describing the Weather

Weather Forecast

What is it that we all know strangers tend to talk about? The weather, of course! 

Whether it’s to be able to chit-chat with the person sitting next to you on the bus or to understand tomorrow’s forecast, knowing basic weather words is a key part of beginner Hebrew. Here are the top words for describing the weather. Note that these are all nouns.

192. שמש
shemesh
“sun”

193. ענן
‘anan
“cloud”

194. גשם
geshem
“rain”

195. שלג
sheleg
“snow”

196. ברד
barad
“hail”

197. ברק
barak
“lightning”

198. רעם
ra’am
“thunder”

199. כפור
kfor
“frost”

200. קרח
kerakh
“ice”

201. טל
tal
“dew”

202. רוח
ru’akh
“wind”

203. סערה
se’arah
“storm”

7. Conjunctions

Boy Dressed Up as College Graduate

While these words might be considered slightly more advanced, conjunctions are sort of like the glue that holds together the rest of the words in a sentence. Considering their importance, then, it’s a good idea to pick up the more commonly used ones. Let’s check them out.

204. ו-
ve-/u-
“and”

205. או
o
“or”

206. אבל
aval
“but”

207. אך
akh
“however”

208. לכן
lakhen
“therefore”

209. אם
im
“if”

210. גם
gam
“also”

211. כי
ki
“because”

212. אכן
akhen
“indeed”

213. אלא
ela
“rather”

8. Bonus: Words That Only Exist in the Hebrew Language

Speech Bubble Containing Israeli Flag

Finally, here are some words that have no parallel in English. This is a mixed bag, but these are all words that have a special flavor that really only works in Hebrew. We’ve provided sample sentences to help illustrate the meaning and usage of each word.

214. את
et
(no English equivalent – linker to direct objects)

*This word is one that will only start to make sense once you’ve seen it being used a number of times. Essentially, it’s a linker between a verb and a direct object, with no semantic meaning of its own.

  • אני אוהב את השיר הזה.
    Ani ohev et ha-shir ha-zeh.
    “I like this song.”

215. דווקא
davka
(no English equivalent – similar to “on purpose” or “of all things”)

  • את רוצה לאכול דווקא את מה שאכלת בדיוק לפני שעה?
    At rotzah le’ekhol davka et mah she-akhalt lifney sha’ah?
    “You want to eat exactly what you ate an hour ago, of all things?”

216. סתם
stam
“for no reason”

  • לפעמים היא שרה סתם כי בא לה.
    Lifamim hi sharah stam ki ba lah.
    “Sometimes she sings for no reason just because she feels like it.”

217. תכלס
takhles
“honestly”

  • תכלס, אני לא ממש אוהב כדורסל.
    Takhles, ani lo mamash ohev kadursal.
    Honestly, I don’t really care for basketball.”

218. דוגרי
dugri
“straight” / “to the point”

  • אני אגיד לך דוגרי. אתה לא הטיפוס שלי.
    Ani agid lekha dugri. Atah lo ha-tipus sheli.
    “I’ll give it to you straight. You’re not my type.”

219. חוצפה
khutzpah
“gall” / “nerve”

  • איזה חוצפה! אכלת את ארוחת הצהריים שלי אפילו בלי לשאול!
    Eyzeh khutzpah! Akhalt et arukhat ha-tzohorayim sheli afilu bli lish’ol!
    “What nerve! You ate my lunch without so much as asking!”

220. להתחדש
lehitkhadesh
(no English equivalent – literally “to renew oneself”)

  • התחדשי על השמלה. ממש יפה לך!
    Hitkhadshi ‘al ha-simlah. Mamash yafah lakh!
    “Enjoy that new dress. It’s really nice on you.”

9. Let HebrewPod101 Help You with the Basics

As experts in language education, we know how overwhelming it can be to begin studying a new language. That is all the more true in the case of a language so different from English as Hebrew, with an entirely new alphabet and sound system, not to mention the grammar. But not to worry! That’s exactly why we at HebrewPod101.com are here to offer you all of the resources you need to successfully progress from beginner all the way to advanced and beyond.

We believe that the key to successful language learning is to take things a bit at a time. Few of us (if any) could possibly learn more than 200 words without a significant amount of repetition. So take it slow and stay focused. Apart from today’s lesson on the top 220 beginner words in Hebrew, we have specific lessons on a broad array of topics. Using our resources, you can build up your vocabulary, work on grammar points, or even practice your pronunciation—all at your own pace and on your own schedule.

    → Not sure where to start? Why not explore our series of Hebrew beginner lessons? This course is specially designed to help you level up in no time!

Anything unclear about today’s words? Any words we skipped that you’d like to know? Questions about pronunciation or grammar? Whatever it may be, we’re always happy to hear from our students, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or doubts you may have.

Until next time, shalom!

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The Top 10 Hebrew Filler Words

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As with any other language, spoken Hebrew can be quite different from written Hebrew. While there’s a wealth of grammar and other rules that dictate what is “correct” Hebrew, what Israelis actually speak on the street follows rules of its own, separate from what the Academy of the Hebrew Language may deem kosher. Aside from slang, elisions, and pronunciation variants, Hebrew filler words are just a part of natural speech.

Filler words are typically short words or sounds that we employ while thinking of what to say, or perhaps even when we get nervous. Most people use filler words to some extent, although your middle school grammar teacher may have criticized their use. While it’s true that using such words too often can definitely make you sound unsure of yourself or—let’s face it—just get annoying, peppering your speech with some authentic filler words in Hebrew will make you sound that much more natural. Plus, sometimes, you really just need a moment to gather your thoughts or to remember that new vocabulary word that’s stuck on the tip of your tongue.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to look at the top fillers in the Hebrew language. We’ll discuss why we use filler words, when to use each one, and how to pronounce them idiomatically. Just keep in mind that you really don’t want to overuse them, as they will degrade the quality of your speech. Even if you hear some Israelis using a whole lot of filler words (and you will hear this!), we still advise using them sparingly. In other words, like, you know: don’t overdo it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words and why do we use them?
  2. Filler words with no real semantic meaning
  3. Filler words to show you’re still thinking
  4. Filler words that signal to the other person
  5. Let HebrewPod101 Fill in the Blanks for You

1. What are filler words and why do we use them?

As we mentioned previously, filler words are words, phrases, or even just utterances that we use to stitch our speech together. Most of the time, we employ fillers to buy time when we’re still thinking of what to say. Take the English fillers “uh” and “well” for example; you might hear people use them when they’re still processing their thoughts or thinking about what someone has just said. Obviously, there are other functions we may associate with filler words, as well. Here are the top five reasons we tend to use filler words in Hebrew:

  1. We’re still thinking of what to say

    As mentioned, fillers are most often used to buy time so you can think of what to say next. This is particularly relevant to language learners, as using a filler word can indicate to the other party that you’re still actively engaged in the conversation, even if you need a moment to formulate a response in Hebrew.
  1. We’re nervous

    In a similar vein, being nervous can often cause us to get confused or to have memory lapses. Clearly, as a Hebrew learner, it’s perfectly normal for you to feel some amount of nervousness in situations where you feel on the spot (such as asking someone out or talking to a person of authority like a police officer). While a bit of hemming and hawing is understandable, try not to allow your nerves to unleash an unchecked flow of fillers!
  1. It’s a tic or bad habit

    This is one you really want to be careful of. Many native speakers of a language exhibit the bad habit of overusing filler words (just imagine a teenager who says “like” after every other word). It’s pretty intuitive that watering down your speech with a bunch of meaningless words or utterances is not going to do any favors for your fluency or eloquence. Language learners in particular can easily fall into this trap. You may begin using fillers casually whenever you’re planning what to say next, but if you’re not careful, this may soon turn into a habit. This is why it’s important to be conscious of your use of fillers and not to allow them to get out of hand.
  1. We want to show we’re following along with someone as they speak
Attentive Listeners
    Sometimes, we use fillers just to show the person we’re talking with that we’re actively engaged in the conversation. You can think of affirmatives (e.g. “uh-huh” or “sure”) or expressions of surprise (“wow” or “no way”) that we commonly offer so the other person knows we’re following along with interest. Again, this is perfectly fine in moderation, but be careful not to exaggerate it.
  1. We can’t think of the right word

    As a non-native speaker, you may find yourself fumbling to retrieve a word you know you’ve learned but can’t recall, or maybe even a word you haven’t yet encountered in your studies. Whatever the case may be, filler words are a great way to indicate that we need a moment or two to access our memory banks, or perhaps to ask for help with expressing our thoughts.

2. Filler words with no real semantic meaning

To start, let’s have a look at some Hebrew filler words that don’t really convey any meaning. These are equivalent to English fillers such as “um,” “like,” “you know,” and “I mean,” to name just a few. Essentially, we’re talking about words, phrases, or utterances whose removal from a sentence would not have any impact on its semantic meaning. Conversely, then, their addition to these sentences is not a matter of adding or modifying information, but rather one of performing the functions we mentioned above.

Man Holding Rope in Shape of Question Mark
  1. אממ…
    Em
    “Um”

This one is just the Israeli parallel to English’s “um,” which is to say it’s as filler as it gets.

  • – אתה זוכר איפה חנינו את האוטו?
    – Atah zokher eyfoh khaninu et ha-oto?
    – “Do you remember where we parked the car?”
  • אממ…, אני חושב שאנחנו ליד בית הספר.
    Emm…, ani khoshev she-anakhnu leyad beyt ha-sefer.
    – “Um, I think we’re next to the school.”
  • – כמה אתה שוקל?
    – Kamah atah shokel?
    – “How much do you weigh?”
  • – תן לי להיזכר. אממ… 80 קילו אם אני לא טועה.
    – Ten li lehizakher. Emm… shmonim kilo im ani lo to’eh.
    – “Let me think. Um… 80 kilos, if I’m not mistaken.”

  1. כאילו
    Ke’ilu
    “Like”
  • – דנה, נרדמת לי, כאילו, או מה?
    – Danah, nirdamt li, ke’ilu, o mah?
    – “Dana, did you, like, fall asleep on me?”
  • – לא, סליחה. פשוט לא ישנתי טוב.
    – Lo, selikhah. Pashut lo yashanti tov.
    – “No, sorry. I just didn’t sleep well.”
  • – נשמע ממש מעניין, כאילו, הרעיון שלך.
    – Nishma’ mamash me’anyen, ke’ilu, ha-ra’ayon shelakh.
    – “Your idea sounds, like, really interesting.”
  • – תודה. כאילו, זה לא ממש מקורי, אבל תודה.
    – Todah.  Ke’ilu, zeh lo mamash mekori, aval todah.
    – “Thanks. Like, it’s not very original, but thanks.”

  1. יעני
    Ya’ani
    “I mean”

*Note that this is actually an Arabic word that is used as a loanword in Hebrew (as are many other Arabic words, particularly slang).

  • – נסענו העירה, יעני לתל אביב.
    Nasa’anu ha-ira, ya’ani le-Tel Aviv.
    – “We drove downtown. I mean, to Tel Aviv.”
  • – וואו, לך לישון!
    – Wau, lekh lishon.
    – “Wow, go to sleep.”
  • – אתם חברים יעני?
    – Atem khaverim ya’ani,?
    – “Are you, I mean, an item?”
  • – האמת שכבר יצאנו פעמיים!
    – Ha-emet she-kvar yatzanu pa’amayim!
    – “The truth is we’ve already gone out twice!”

Conversation among friends
  1. נכון
    Nakhon
    “Right”
  • – שלום, האם תוכל לעזור לי? אין לי חשמל בכל הבית.
    – Shalom, ha’im tukhal la’azor li? Eyn li khashmal be-khol ha-bayit.
    – “Hi, could you help me? I have no electricity anywhere in the house.”
  • – דבר ראשון, אתה רוצה לבדוק את לוח החשמל, נכון?
    – Davar rishon, atah rotzeh livdok et lu’akh ha-khasmal, nakhon?
    – “First thing, you’d wanna check the panel, right?”
  • – ראית את אורן בזמן האחרון?
    – Ra’it et Oren ba-zman ha-akharon?
    – “Have you seen Oren lately?”
  • – אתה עובד איתו, נכון? אז תגיד לי אתה.
    – Atah oved ito, nakhon? Az tagid li atah.
    – “You work with him, right? So why don’t you tell me?”

  1. אז
    Az
    “So”
  • אז איך נשמע לך הרעיון של שותפות מלאה?
    Az eykh nishma’ lakh ha-ra’ayon shel shutafut mele’ah?
    – “So what do you think about a full partnership?”
  • – תני לי לחשוב על זה כמה ימים.
    – Teni li lakha’shov ‘al zeh kamah yamim.
    – “Let me think about it for a couple of days.”
  • – אתה בא למסיבה של רון?
    – Atah ba la-mesibah shel Ron?
    – “Are you coming to Ron’s party?”
  • – הוא לא ממש הזמין אותי, אז
    – Hu lo mamash hizmin oti, az
    – “He didn’t really invite me, so…”

3. Filler words to show you’re still thinking

As we said previously, filler words are a great way to buy some time when you’re in the process of thinking. This can be because you’re still processing what the other person said or because you’re mining your memory for that perfect word or phrase you learned just last week. Either way, the following fillers are particularly useful in situations where you just need a moment to gather your thoughts before continuing with the conversation.

Woman with question marks above head
  1. לדעתי
    Le-da’ati
    “I think” / “To my mind”
  • – נראה לך שנוכל לנסוע בקרוב?
    – Nireh lekha she-nukhal linso’a be-karov?
    – “Do you think we can head out soon?”
  • – ייקח לי עוד כשעתיים לסיים כאן, לדעתי.
    – Yikakh li ‘od ke-sha’atayim lesayem kan, le-da’ati.
    – “It’ll take me another couple of hours or so to finish up here, I think.”
  • – כמה הוצאנו על המסיבה?
    – Kamah hotzenu ‘al ha-mesibah?
    – “How much did we spend on the party?”
  • לדעתי, זה יצא סביב ה-600 שקל.
    Le-da’ati, ze yatzah seviv ha-shesh-me’ot shekel.
    – “I think it came to around 600 shekels.”

  1. כנראה
    Kanireh
    “Apparently” / “It would seem”
  • – למה אתה לבוש ככה?
    – Lamah atah lavush kakhah?
    – “Why are you dressed like that?”
  • כנראה שנדבקתי במשהו.
    Kanireh she-nidbakti be-mashehu.
    – “It would seem that I’m coming down with something.”
  • – בא לך לצאת לבירה הערב?
    Ba lakh latzet le-birah ha-’erev?
    – “Do you feel like going out for a beer tonight?”
  • – בא לי אבל אני כנראה שאצטרך לעבוד עד מאוחר.
    – Ba li aval kanireh she-etztarekh la’avod ‘ad me’ukhar.
    – “I’d like to, but apparently I’m going to have to work late.”

4. Filler words that signal to the other person

Two Men Conversing

Lastly, let’s have a look at some filler words that represent a sort of “nod” at the person you’re speaking to, by way of talking to and not at someone. These can be thought of as a way of holding the person’s attention, or making sure (s)he is following along with you. You can also throw in one of these Hebrew filler words if you feel like you may not have explained yourself clearly, in order to make sure the other person did, in fact, understand you. 

  1. אתה יודע/את יודעת&
    Atah yode’a / At yoda’at
    “You know”
  • – החיים במדינה שלי לא קלים, ממש כמו בישראל, את יודעת.
    – Ha-khayim ba-medinah sheli lo kalim, mamash kemo be-Yisrael, at yoda’at.
    – “Life in my country is hard, just like in Israel, you know.”
  • – כן, ברור לי.
    – Ken, barur li.
    – “Yes, of course I know that.”
  • – נו, אז מה את אומרת? יוצאים לפאב עוד מעט?
    – Nu, az mah at omeret? Yotzim la-pab ‘od me’at?
    – “So, what do you say? Should we head to the bar in a bit?”
  • – אני ממש צריכה לשבת וללמוד לקראת המבחן הגדול, אתה יודע.
    – Ani mamash tzrikhah lashevet ve-lilmod likrat ha-mivkhan ha-gadol, atah yode’a.
    – “I really need to sit and study for the big exam coming up, you know.”

  1. אתה מבין/את מבינה
    Atah mevin / At mevinah
    “You know”
  • – מה קרה? למה את כל כך עצובה היום?
    – Mah karah? Lamah at kol kakh ‘atzuvah ha-yom?
    – “What’s up? Why are you so sad today?”
  • – חבר שלי התקבל ללימודים בחו”ל, את מבינה?
    – Khaver sheli hitkabel le-limudim be-khu”l, at mevinah?
    – “My boyfriend got accepted to study abroad, you know?”
  • – איך אתה מצליח לעבוד כל כך הרבה שעות ועוד לחייך?
    – Eykh atah matzli’akh la’avod kol kakh harbeh sha’ot ve-’od lekhayekh?
    – “How do you manage to work so many hours and still keep a smile on your face?”
  • – הכל בראש, אתה מבין? צריך לשמור על מורל גבוה!
    – Ha-kol ba-rosh, atah mevin? Tzarikh lishmor ‘al moral gavoha.
    – “It’s all in your head, you know? One has to keep morale high!”

  1. אתה יודע/ את יודעת?
    Hevanta? / Hevant?
    “Do you know what I mean?” (Lit.: “Did you understand?”)
  • – שירלי, למה את לא עונה לי לטלפון?
    – Shirli, lamah at lo ‘onah li la-telefon?
    – “Shirli, why aren’t you taking my calls?”
  • – סליחה, אני פשוט עסוקה מאוד בימים אלה, את יודעת?
    – Selikha, ani pashut ‘asukah me’od be-yamim eleh, at yoda’at?
    – “Sorry, I’m just very busy these days, you know?”
  • – איזה כיף שאתם יוצאים לחופשה סוף סוף!
    – Eyzeh keif she-atem yotzim le-khufshah sof sof!
    – “It’s great that you’re finally going on vacation!”
  • – טוב, אנו חוסכים כבר שנתיים. זה לא בדיוק זול, אתה יודע?
    – Tov, anu khoskhim kvar shnatayim. Zeh lo bediyuk zol, ata yode’a?
    – “Well, we’ve been saving up for two years. It’s not exactly cheap, you know?

5. Let HebrewPod101 Fill in the Blanks for You

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s lesson on Hebrew filler words. Obviously, as you’ve seen, a well-placed filler in Hebrew can help you get a moment to think or remember a word. Plus, when used in moderation, they add an extra measure of authenticity to your speech. After all, sounding too perfect isn’t idiomatic either, and Israelis themselves use these fillers plenty.

That being said, we here at HebrewPod101 are always here to ensure that you have all the vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and even cultural knowledge that you need to hold your own in Hebrew. Check out our thousands of other lessons covering endless topics and language points. And if we’re missing anything you’d like more information on, please let us know. We’re always happy to fill in the blanks!

Until next time, shalom!

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