Word of the Day Lizrom לזרם

Unlike fish in a school, you can resist being manipulated by the exhortations of the gang into flowing with something you don't feel like doing.

Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova
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Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova

When Jennifer Aniston does it, she's just playing along. But when that girl at the club does it, they say it's because she's easy.

The "it" in question is lizrom (leez-ROHM), which means "to flow," as in what a stream and an electrical current do. Lizrom im ze literally means "flow with it," or "go with the flow," and is the Hebrew title of the 2011 romantic comedy "Just Go With It," starring Aniston and Adam Sandler.

As for a bahura zoremet, literally a "flowing girl," she's the one with the reputation for sleeping around. That's all good and well, writes relationship columnist Dorit David, as long as that's what she genuinely wants to do and not what she's doing because some man told her "tizremi" (teez-re-MEE), the second-person feminine form of lizrom, meaning "go with it" or "go with the flow."

"The real significance of the word tizremi is do something you don't want to do, that doesn't seem reasonable or that just isn't right for you for a million reasons. In other words, 'tizremi' equals go against your flow (zerem)," writes David. She urges women lizrom if they want to, but only if the flow they're going with is "your desires, your self and what's good for you."

In the plural noun form, zeramim means "streams," which, as in English to some extent, essentially mean "types." You've got the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform zeramim, or denominations, of Judaism, and Israel's various educational zeramim, such as the ultra-Orthodox school system, the secular public school system and the religious public school system.

Schools of fish, of course, don’t have much of a choice. We at least get to decide if we want to follow the crowd or swim against the tide; salmon heading up the flowing stream (nahal zorem) have to do both simultaneously.

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.

A watermill in Belgium.Credit: Jean Pol Grandmont
Salmon parr (that's the term for the kiddie fish) zormim at a fish farm.Credit: Bloomberg

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