Word of the Day / Lokshim

Since we're all hungry for the truth, beware of those trying to feed you lies.

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In Hebrew, the word lokshim (lok-SHEEM) refers to either irrelevant information or outright lies, but only when it's used in the phrase ma'akhil (ma-a-KHEEL) lokshim which translates to "feeding lies." The phrase describes a situation in which one party gives another the wrong information to trick or confuse him.

The word and the phrase come from the Yiddish expression schtaffen mit lokchen ("to stuff with noodles"). Apparently, in Eastern Europe, to feed ones guests with noodles instead of real food was considered an offence, and this was metaphorically carried over to the world of information.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the nascent community of Hebrew speakers in Palestine used the word lokshen (or lokshim) for noodles, but in 1908 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda introduced the word itriyot (eat-ree-YOTE) for noodles instead, borrowed from the Arabic to replace the Yiddish.

The word caught on and by the mid-20th century, no one was calling noodles lokshen anymore. Still, the expression persisted and was augmented recently with a variation "to sell lokshim" (limkor lokshim) which means the same.

Shoshana Kordova is on leave. For previous Word of the Day columns, go to: www.haaretz.com/news/features/word-of-the-day.

Saying "Don't feed me noodles" in Yiddish is a nice way of saying "don't even try to sell me that."Credit: Doram Gaunt

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