Vocabulary (Review)

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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Idit here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Hebrew questions.
The question for this lesson is…
What does the word נורא (nora) mean and how should it be used?
The word נורא (nora) has gone through some interesting changes over the years. It appears in the Bible, meaning “awesome” or “awe-inspiring” in reference to God. You can see it in this sentence, from the book of Deuteronomy--
האל הגדול הגיבור והנורא
(ha’el ha’gadol ha’gibor ve’ha’nora) which means, "The great, the mighty and the awesome God."
In modern-day Hebrew, the meaning of the word נורא (nora) has lost its positive aspects and became more about the fear inducing aspects, becoming an adjective meaning "terrible" or "awful," like in these examples--
הסרט היה נורא
(ha’seret haya nora) “The movie was awful,”
or in this one,
זו הייתה חוויה נוראה
(zo haita ħavaya nora’a) “It was a horrible experience.”
The word נורא (nora) also appears in the expression לא נורא, (lo nora) meaning something like "It's okay," or "It's not a big deal."
Let’s look at this example. Say you’re with your roommate and you’re on your way home. When you check your bag, you realize you forgot your keys. Your roommate could say,
שכחת את המפתחות? לא נורא, יש לי מפתח
(shakhaħta et ha’mafteħot? lo nora, yesh li mafteaħ) “You forgot the keys? It’s okay, I have a key.”
The word נורא (nora) can also be used as an adverb meaning "very," or “terribly.” It can be added to negative adjectives, but also to positive adjectives, like in נורא יפה (nora yafe), “terribly beautiful” or מעניין נורא (me’anyen nora) “very interesting.” It can appear either before or after the adjective. One important thing to note is that this use of the word נורא (nora) is colloquial and shouldn’t be used in formal situations.
So next time you’re with your Israeli friends, try using the word נורא (nora) with one of the many expressions we learned in this lesson, and see how you sound!
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!