Word of the Day Ledarben

This prickly word provides a fitting visual image to illustrate what might otherwise be an abstract concept of prodding one another.

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

Porcupines (dorbanim), I would venture to say, are best known the world over for all those quills that cover them. In Israel, they are also a Druze delicacy, and a corollary to the verb ledarben (le-dahr-BEN), meaning to goad, prod, spur or encourage.

A Maariv newspaper story refers to a soccer coach who tried to encourage his players, or spur them to victory – the use of dirben (deer-BEN), the singular third-person masculine past tense of ledarben, conflates the meanings – by telling them that even if their game wasn't going well in the beginning, they shouldn't stress out and should "be mentally strong."

I like this verb because it provides a fitting visual image to illustrate what might otherwise be an abstract concept. There are many ways to prod someone into doing something, but this word makes you realize that, on some level at least, even the most well-constructed verbal argument or the most subtle form of psychological pressure is really just a more sophisticated way of taking an object like a porcupine's quill and physically prompting someone to go in the direction you'd like.

Giddyap, team!

Goading can be as prickly as this hedgehog, the more photogenic cousin of the porcupine. Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



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

Already signed up? LOG IN


מריאן ס' מריאן אומנות

The Artist Who Survived Auschwitz Thought Israel Was 'Worse Than the Concentration Camp'

הקלטות מעוז

Jewish Law Above All: Recordings Reveal Far-right MK's Plan to Turn Israel Into Theocracy

איתמר בן גביר

Why I’m Turning My Back on My Jewish Identity

Travelers looking at the Departures board at Ben Gurion Airport. The number of olim who later become yordim is unknown.

Down and Out: Why These New Immigrants Ended Up Leaving Israel

Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco as Mia and Lucia in "The White Lotus."

The Reality Behind ‘The White Lotus’ Sex Work Fantasy

The Mossad hit team in Dubai. Exposed by dozens of security cameras

This ‘Dystopian’ Cyber Firm Could Have Saved Mossad Assassins From Exposure