Word of the Day / Bul

If you think the person pictured on the bul looks bul like a bull, you could obfuscate or say so bul.

Shoshana Kordova
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Shoshana Kordova

Remember how people used to put paper in an envelope and deposit said envelope into something called a mailbox? In Israel, if you look just like the person featured on the bul (BOOL) on the upper-right corner of the envelope, chances are someone will let you know that the resemblance is so close it's bul.

The first kind of bul means "stamp" (but only the kind that goes on an envelope, not the kind that leaves an imprint) and comes from the Arabic.

The second kind comes from the English and is often used when we want to say two things look identical, but more generally means "spot on" or "exactly." Though "bull" is usually intended as a shortened version of "bullshit" when used in English, this Hebrew version of bul is borrowed from a different English phrase that involves oxen: "bull's-eye."

Not only can you potentially hit the target bul, you can also use bul to describe how punctual you are ("I got there bul on time!"), how well you nailed the question, or how closely the color of your furniture matches the colors of the painting on your wall ("that's bul the same mauve").

And if you don't think you look anything like that stamp-sized mug shot of David Ben-Gurion, you can always call bull.

To contact Shoshana Kordova with column suggestions or other word-related comments, email her at shoshanakordova@gmail.com. For previous Word of the Day columns, go to: www.haaretz.com/news/features/word-of-the-day.


The first kind of bul means 'stamp' and comes from Arabic.Credit: Reuters
Bull.Credit: Bloomberg.

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