The Top 10 Hebrew Slang Words That You Should Learn

Guy Sharett

Going to Tel Aviv and want to impress the locals with a few Hebrew slang words? Here are ten words in colloquial Hebrew that will convince the crowds that you’re almost a local. All are single words (many of which you can learn from the street art), so no need to memorize whole sentences; using them in English phrases is also okay in order to create a rapport with Tel Avivis.

Street Artwork

1. Hi-oosh

Hi — like hello — plus the -oosh suffix; the result sounds like ‘high-oosh.’ This is a cutesy ‘hi,’ heard more and more in Hebrew these days. Hi-oosh can be said at an entrance to a restaurant to a younger waiter or waitress, and usually he or she will smile back. Not everybody is into adding the diminutive -oosh suffix, however, as it’s considered teenage language. Another version is bye-oosh for ‘bye.’ The suffix can be also added to names, just like the Italian -ino and Spanish -ito. Do not use hi-oosh in formal occasions.

Loved by over 40s

2. Nu

Used like ‘C’mon’ — for example: ‘Nu, are you ready yet?’ It’s a Yiddish word and can be used in English sentences, as well. Nu is also used when someone is beating around the bush; saying, ‘Nu? I wanna hear all about it,’ could do the trick.

3. Stam

Stam, pronounced like ‘stud’ with an ‘m’ at the end, means ‘for no reason’ or ‘just like that’: ‘Stam, I am at home, reading a book, nothing special.’ When pronounced like staaaaam, it means ‘just kidding!’ and can be used to play down things that are perceived as ‘heavy.’ When stam is said about a movie, book or restaurant, it means ‘it’s nothing to write home about.’

4. Sababa

Sababa is an Arabic word that is used all the time in modern Hebrew. Sababa is exactly like ‘cool.’ ‘So we meet at 8pm?’ Sababa. ‘How’s the coffee here?’ Sababa. As superlatives are worn out easily, sababa started by meaning ‘amazing’ and over time came to mean ‘cool,’ ‘great’… sometimes it can just mean ‘okay.’ To be sababa with something means ‘it’s all good.’


5. Dai

Pronounced like ‘die’ in English, dai means ‘enough’ or ‘stop.’ If someone is pouring a drink, dai can be used to tell him when to stop. It can also be used to as a means of showing disbelief, like a Hebrew ‘get out of here… really?’: ‘I am quitting my job.’ Dai ! To make an extra impact you can prolong the ‘ah’ sound, and pronounce it daaaaaaai.

Street Artwork

6. Yoffi

Yoffi means beauty in the dictionary, but in colloquial Hebrew it’s ‘just great’ and is used as an adverb. Haya yoffi means ‘it was great.’ Yoffi can also mean ‘bravo’ or ‘way to go!’ with the right enthusiastic intonation.

7. Zazim

Zazim literally means ‘we are moving,’ and it’s exactly a twin for the French on y va. It is used in order to say ‘let’s make a move’ when everybody hesitates while leaving a place together. It can be a question — zazim? — or an exclamation — zazim! — to encourage people to make a move.

Street Artwork by Eyali Richter @ Guy Sharett

8. Tov

Tov means ‘good,’ as in boker tov: ‘good morning.’ When it stands alone it is used to affirm, to say something is okay. Tov is also used when there’s silence and the conversation is over: ‘Tov, I’ll call you tomorrow,’ ‘Tov, thanks for everything,’ etc. Tov can be followed by toda — thanks —, as in, ‘Okay, thanks’: Tov, toda.

9. Yalla

One of the most popular Arabic words is also widely used in Hebrew. Yalla, just like its Yiddish sister Nu, is used to encourage someone to do something — anything: ‘Yalla, eat your food’; ‘Yalla, let’s go’; ‘Yalla, you said you’d be here ages ago’; ‘Yalla, zazim?’ When said twice, with more stress on the second word, yalla yalla means ‘yeah, right,’ or ‘as if!’

10. Yesh

Yesh is the Hebrew equivalent of ‘there is’ in English, so yesh café means ‘there’s coffee’ or ‘is there coffee?’ When it’s used on its own, however, said with a winning intonation (yesh!), it means ‘great!’ This is what people scream when their football team scores, or when they get what they were yearning for.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Keen to explore the world?

Our passionately curated premium small-group trips are an invitation to connect with like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.