by Elan Karoll

If you are going to Israel, this short dictionary of common Israeli slang words and phrases will be very useful. Most of them make no sense, and some actually contradict their literal meaning in Hebrew. But, if you want to talk like a real sabra (see definition below), this list of vocabulary will help you out, habibi!

Yalla
Let’s go!
“We have to get on the bus. Yalla! Come on.”

Sababa
Cool, Awesome, Okay
“I am thinking of skipping class today. What do you think?” “Sababa.”

Habibi
My friend
“Habibi, what’s new with you?”

Balagan
Craziness, A total mess
“This traffic! What a balagan!”

Walla
Really?, Duh! (conveys surprise; can be serious or sarcastic, depending on pronunciation)
“There is a huge sale at the store today!” “Walla?!”
“Your boyfriend is a total idiot.” “Walla.”

Chaim sheli
My life (term of endearment)
“This dinner was so sweet of you. You are chaim sheli.”

Chai b’seret
Living in a fantasy
“If you think Rebecca will really finish this project on time, then you chai b’seret.”

Motek
Sweetheart
“Oh my gosh, motek, you are so cute!”

Hi-oosh
A cute way of saying hello
“Hi-oosh motek! How are you?”

Sabra
Someone born in Israel
“Jessica is from Toronto, but Yael is a sabra.”

Nu
Well? So?
“Nu? Dude, you are 30 minutes late!”

Al ha’panim
Terrible
“This nightclub is al ha’panim.”

Yesh
Yes!
“Another goal for Maccabi Tel Aviv! Yesh!”

Achla
Great
“You won the award? Achla!”

Chaval al hazman
A great time
“Did you go to Moshe’s awesome party last night? Chaval al hazman!”

Mutash
Exhausted
“I have been working since 7am, I am totally mutash.”

Tachles
Really/Actually, To the point (meaning depends on context)
“He’s nice, but tachles, I would never go out with him.”
“Enough with chit-chat, let’s talk tachles.”

Now you need to visit Israel to use this all of this Israeli slang! Here’s how.