Word of the Day / Gina: Limp Lettuce? Denounce It!

Depending on whether it's a noun or a verb, this word can mean 'garden' or 'condemnation.'

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We recently talked about how a garden (gan) can be for plants or for children. Now let’s take a look at another word for garden: gina (gee-NA, with a hard “g”), which means “small garden,” “vegetable garden” or “grove.” It is sometimes used to refer to a playground as well – but that’s only when gina is acting like a noun.

There’s a Hebrew Facebook page on making and designing your own vegetable garden, described there as ginot ma’akhal, or “food gardens.” Some Israelis lucky enough to have a backyard use part of it for a mahsan gina, a “garden storehouse,” which is basically a shed – but in Israel tends to be used as a (smaller) replacement for a non-existent basement or attic rather than a place to store garden tools.

Gina can also be a verb in the singular masculine past tense meaning “he condemned,” “he denounced” or “he deprecated.” (The infinitive is leganot, “to condemn.”) Hebrew news media reported that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gina Tuesday’s suicide bombing outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. Clearly the context makes it obvious that gina is being used as a verb here, in the sense of “condemned.”

It’s pretty unusual for the noun and verb to be used in the same sentence, but it’s not impossible. Let’s say Yossi the Allergic Garden-Hater were to condemn your garden for the sin of bringing more cherry tomatoes and basil into the world, thereby making him sneeze. In that case, you could say that Yossi gina your gina -- because you can’t always win, even when you have the side with the greener grass.

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.

Working away in the 'gina.'Credit: Dreamstime

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