English has plenty of onomatopoeias: wham, boom, splash. But what’s that word for what you do when you’re blowing out the candles on your birthday cake or blowing on your food to cool it down?
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English speakers just purse their lips and blow, but Hebrew speakers have given this action a name: la’asot foo, “to do foo.” This is not a special dance move restricted to Foo Fighters concerts; it's what happens when boys and girls rain spittle on cakes in a sometimes misguided attempt to rid them of flames.
In a Globes interview last year, Dror Koren, CEO of real estate company Darinel Business, used the term to represent doing nothing. Complaining about the slow pace of the bureaucracy required to develop real estate in Israel and how money is wasted as the project drags on, Koren said: “A clerk can wake up in the morning, do fu, and there goes a million dollars.”
Usually, though, the word remains the province of little kids, whose love for extinguishing birthday candles is, as a rule, equaled only by their deep-seated animosity toward hot food.
To contact Shoshana Kordova with column suggestions or other word-related comments, email her at email@example.com. For previous Word of the Day columns, go to: www.haaretz.com/news/features/word-of-the-day.