Sickness and death might seem like the kinds of topics most people would prefer to stay away from, but for Israelis, being sick (KHO-leh for men, KHO-lah for women) over something – or someone – and dying (MET for men and MEH-ta for women) over it are ways of expressing boundless enthusiasm, a cooler and less sentimental way of talking about a kind of love.
There are several Hebrew Facebook pages that urge likeminded readers to announce to the world exactly what it is they're crazy about (by "liking" the page, of course), whether it's dogs (page name: "I also met over dogs!!!" – 314 "likes"), weekend preferences ("I also met over Friday night and hate Saturday night!" – 9,307) or being home alone ("I met over not having parents in the house" – 6,285).
Fittingly, one girl posted on a chat room for young people that she "is kholah over status updates and sentences," presumably of the funny and pithy variety, and asked people to post some good ones.
One response played on the similarity between the Hebrew words hamesh (five) and ham esh (the words "hot" and "fire"), advising those who have been waiting for an iPhone 5 to take any version of the phone, put it into the oven at 180 degrees Celsius, and take out an iPhone ham esh. No word on whether the girl seeking funny status updates got sick or died over this one, or whether it merely made her sick to death of the unfunny.
To contact Shoshana Kordova with column suggestions or other word-related comments, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For previous Word of the Day columns, go to: www.haaretz.com/news/features/word-of-the-day.
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