Vocabulary

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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 is the meaning of the word דווקא (dav’ka)?
The word דווקא (dav’ka) has no equivalent in English, so it can be quite confusing for people who try to look it up in the dictionary. However, it’s similar to the English word “spite” and can be used in a variety of ways in Hebrew.
Like many other words in modern Hebrew, the word דווקא (dav’ka) came from the Aramaic language. In Aramaic, it means, "precision” or “meticulousness." In modern Hebrew, it has a few different meanings, depending on the context of the sentence. However, its meanings are always related to the original definition in some way. It can mean "precisely," but mostly in an ironic or sarcastic kind of way. For exampleー
"Don't go there, that place is always crowded."
"That is precisely why I want to go!”
דווקא בגלל זה אני רוצה ללכת!
(dav’ka biglal ze ani rotze lalekhet!)
You can also use דווקא (davka) to mean "out of spite." This shows that I am doing this action in order to make someone else angry or upset. For example,
"I loved that vase, why did you break it?!" - דווקא (davka)!" (out of spite).
Another common expression in Hebrew is לעשות דווקא (la’asot dav’ka), which means to act out of spite in a childish way:
ההורים שלי רצו שאלמד רפואה, אז הלכתי ללמוד אמנות כדי "לעשות להם דווקא".
(ha’horim sheli ratzu she’elmad refu’a, az halakh’ti lilmod omanot kedei la’asot la’hem dav’ka).
“My parents wanted me to study medicine, so I studied art to לעשות דווקא (la’asot davka), ‘do davka.’ or ‘spite them.’”
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!
להתראות!
(lehitra’ot!)

11 Comments

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HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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What Hebrew learning question do you have?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 05:28 PM
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Dear Trevor D. Wallace,


Thanks for commenting on this lesson!


Your question is a good one, as this is a rather confusing topic.


A double vav can appear in 2 cases -

1. When we write without nikud, and we want to highlight that a vav is not serving as a vowel in a word. This would be the case with "דווקא", that is written with nikud as דַּוְקָא.

2. In foreign words, to express the sound of the letter "W", which doesn't exist in Hebrew. Some examples for this are:

pinguin - פינגווין, Woodstock - וודסטוק.


We hope you would find this explanation useful! Please contact us if you have any further questions 👍


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Trevor D. Wallace
Friday at 10:20 AM
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Good Night Team. I am a bit confused with the spelling and therefore the pronunciation especially with the double vav. Can someone please assist me?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 03:38 PM
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Hi Ewelina,


Thanks for sharing with us! Let me know if you have any questions.


Cheers,


Khanh

Team HebrewPod101.com

Ewelina
Sunday at 04:26 AM
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I few days ago I learned this word from a dialogue in my Hebrew book. It had the meaning of "actually". I had no idea it had othr very interesting meanings too. Thanks for explaining!

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 04:18 AM
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Hi עמר,


Thanks for posting and sharing this!


Interesting, I had no idea this word exists in other languages... 😄 are there any other similarities between Hebrew and Bosnian?


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

עמר
Thursday at 04:45 AM
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I perfectly understood the meaning of the word דווקא because in my mother tongue (Bosnian) we have the word with identical meaning: inat.

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Friday at 08:18 PM
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Hi Shelley,


I'm happy to help and no worries - we all make mistakes when we don't focus sometimes... :)


Yeah I noticed the gender issue too, I hope it's not too confusing... But it's important to know both forms..


Yours,

Roi

Team Hebrewpod101.com

Shelley
Saturday at 09:56 AM
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lol. I am blushing that you know me so well! How can I miss that one! I especially liked that you answered in present tense and in past tense and I recognized both! Hurray! Always happy to provide feedback.

Actually, it's very tricky that on your site a woman often speaks the sentence written for a male and the pictures often show the opposite gender, but eventually we get used to it and change it around in our minds.

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Friday at 08:53 PM
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Hi Shelley,


Thanks for the feedback!


one note - since you are a woman, you would use the female form "אני לא מכירה" - or simply - "לא הכרתי".


Yours,

Roi

Team Hebrewpod101.com

Shelley
Sunday at 11:34 PM
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I am not familiar with this word. Thank you, Idit. Very interesting. . אני לא מכיר את המילה הזות. תודה עדית. מעניין מאוד