Remember that scruffy dude in high school whose uniform was a wrinkled rock-band T-shirt and who walked around in a permanent daze? Remember how, sometimes, when he wasn't in class, he was hanging outside and smoking?
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Well, whether he was smoking tobacco or something greener, in Hebrew he could be described as "mastool."
Mastool is a slang term that Israelis borrowed from local Arabic and essentially means "stoned," or just "high," in the sense of flaky. It refers to the state eloquently described in countless musical gems (mostly from the 1960s and '70s), such as Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit":
And you've just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low.
Go ask Alice, I think she'll know.
If she knows, then she's "mastool."
The Arabic/Hebrew word also has a couple of useful derivatives: "satlan" is the stoner while "satla" is used for that fuzzy feeling of being mastool.
An online Hebrew marijuana dictionary also includes phrases like "mastool tachat," or stoned off your wazoo, and "mastool tiv'i," which refers to someone so naturally wacky that he doesn’t need herbal or chemical aids to reach a different plane.
But you can also make use of the term in a non-pot-smoking context. For example, if a friend trips and stumbles or fails to answer a question because he's a little spaced out, you can ask, "What are you, mastool?"
Lest you infer that Word of the Day is promoting the use of alternative consciousness, let's end with some words of wisdom from Afroman's "Because I Got High," which preaches the perils of the stoner lifestyle:
I was gonna go to court before I got high,
I was gonna pay my child support but then I got high,
They took my whole paycheck and now I know why.
Shoshana Kordova is on leave. For previous Word of the Day columns, go to: www.haaretz.com/news/features/word-of-the-day.