dearteassociazione.org’s home etymologist describes the failure by Natalie Portman, born in Israel as Natalie Hershlag. Evidently she's been away a while.

You are watching: What does zona mean in hebrew


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Vanity Fair released a video clip on Tuesday featuring Natalie Portman providing a lesson in Hebrew slang. Sporting a shirts striped in blue and also white, the colour of the Israeli flag, Portman – who was born in Israel together Natalie Hershlag – spanned everything from figures of decided to very rude language indeed.


But she evidently hasn't been around the holy Land streets for a while. This is what she gained wrong or omitted.


Portman suggests that ben zona, precise “son the a whore,” is slang because that "son of a bitch." Arguably, however, that isn't slang, just a usual insult.


What is slang, and she neglected to mention, is use of ben zona to median “excellent,” which has been typical in Hebrew because the early on 2000s. For example, one might say “haseret hakhadash shel Natalie Portman ben zona” an interpretation “Natalie Portman’s recent movie is terrific”.


Moving onto etymology, Portman is likewise most likely wrong to affix Hebrew’s balagan (“mess, disorder”) v English “balcony.”


The Hebrew native balagan derives indigenous the Persian expression bala khana or balchan – precise “the top of the house,” or, “attic," "roof.” probably through Turkish, this word make its method into Russian, whereby it got the an interpretation “temporary hut.”


Come the 18th century, a culture of clowns, jugglers and also puppeteers relocating from town to town and performing in small huts ended up being common in Russia. The huts, in Russian balagan, came to be connected with the buffoonery performed in them. End time, the Russian native balagan began to mean “mess, disorder.”


When Russian immigrants started to throng Palestine in the at an early stage 20th century, they brought the indigenous balagan with them and it has actually been a part of Hebrew ever since.


Some resources argue the the Italian indigenous balcone, i beg your pardon is the resource of English balcony, comes from the exact same Persian source. However, the Oxford English dictionary tells that it derives native the High German native balcho, definition “beam” (of lumber).

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Outdated dictionary of slang from the 1970s carry out say that manyak means maniac and is obtained from it. Yet today, manyak does not median “maniac,” together Portman claims. The is a basic derogatory term that is perhaps best translated as "asshole."


Hebrew obtained this word from Arabic, where manyak has currently the exact same meaning, but originally meant “one who is ~ above the receiving end of homosexual sex." It has nothing to execute with "maniac" which european languages obtained through Latin indigenous mania, the Greek word because that "madness."


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