Word of the Day Tari: A Fresh Look at Newlyweds

Congratulate the fresh pair, even if you forgot to change your underwear.

Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova
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In Hebrew, a 'fresh pair' doesn’t usually a change of underwear.
In Hebrew, a 'fresh pair' doesn’t usually a change of underwear.Credit: Dreamstime
Shoshana Kordova
Shoshana Kordova

Talk about a “fresh pair” in English, and the topic under discussion is likely a change of underwear or a couple of rude teenagers. Switch over to Hebrew, though – where the phrase is zug tari (zoog ta-REE) – and what you’ve got are a newly minted couple, generally newlyweds.

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Zug means “pair” or “couple” and tari means “fresh,” in the sense of fresh fruit, fresh eggs or fresh paint (the rude kind of fresh is hatzuf, meaning “chutzpahdik” or full of chutzpah). There’s also the fresh jawbone of an ass with which Samson kills 1,000 men and the fresh wound (maka triya, translated by the Jewish Publication Society as “festering sore”) described in Isaiah.

Speaking of festering sores, albeit the emotional kind, a Mako article offers some tips on what not to say to a zug tari. Don’t tell them the honeymoon will soon be over, especially if you’ve been divorced a few times yourself, and don’t ask “Nu, so when are you having kids?” – especially if “the bride’s sister has just adopted a Romanian orphan after countless failed fertility treatments,” the article cautions.

If the no-no list leaves you denuded of conversational gambits, you can always turn to Israeli greeting cards, which have plenty to say to the fresh couple (often also called the zug hatza’ir, “the young couple,” with little regard for how old the members of the couple actually are). “To the cute couple, the zug hatari getting married today,” reads one such card. “May your future be rosy and may you see only good.”

And if you discover that the zug hatari does end up adding a third member to their family (I hope you didn’t nudge them about it!), feel free to congratulate them on their newborn, or tinok tari – because in Israel we don’t wait until a baby can talk before announcing that it’s fresh.

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.

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