Word of the Day Tik תִּיק

The word 'tik' encompasses pocketbooks, briefcases, backpacks and suitcases but its reach extends far beyond transporting one’s belongings.

Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova

Looking for one word that can, in a pinch, encompass pocketbooks, briefcases, backpacks and suitcases? Don’t go for “sakit,” which refers to a plastic bag (also called “sakit nylon,” meaning “nylon bag,” even though it isn’t). The word you’re seeking is “tik” (TEEK), but its reach extends far beyond transporting one’s belongings.

A tik refu’i, or medical file, is something we all have. But a tik plili is something you probably want to avoid, since it refers to a criminal record. And a tik bamemshala is something some of us desperately want and most of us will never get: a government portfolio, meaning a ministry the cabinet member gets to head. You don’t need a tik to be a cabinet minister, though. There’s generally a politician or two in each government who ends up with a seat at the table, but no ministry under his or her command; they are ministers without portfolio, or sarim bli tik.

But “bag” may well be the most commonly used meaning of “tik.” A sign on Israeli trains plays with the fact that in Hebrew the word is pronounced the same way as the sound we attribute to a clock. The sign has an illustration of a suitcase, in the middle of which is the word “tik,” followed beneath by “tock, tick, tock.” A brief message at the bottom warns passengers not to leave any of their belongings on the train.

The connection between leaving a bag behind and the sound of a clock ticking is too obvious for Israelis to need to be spelled out. Unclaimed bags are considered suspicious objects that might contain explosives, and so are carefully removed for detonation in a controlled explosion carried out by security officials.

Those of us who use public transportation know that the clock is always ticking for passengers, and that, when things are going wrong, being delayed by just a few seconds can end up making us hours late. But with its long-running campaign meant to encourage train riders to remember their bags, Israel’s railway system has added a new wrinkle in the tik-tock of time.

'Tik' is a catch-all word.Credit: Tali Shani

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer