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9 Yerushalmi Words

Updated: May 30

You probably know by now that Israelis have their own slang words in Hebrew, such as #Yalla, #Ahla, or #Sababa. But did you know that in Jerusalem, the city's natives have their own personal Hebrew slang?

Person with a straw hat sitting on a hill overlooking Jerusalem (Yerushalyim)

Well, you're in luck, because some of us happen to be Jerusalem natives, and in honor of Yom Yerushalayim, we decided to share with you some words from our city's private thesaurus.

Some of these words might sound so whacky you'll think we made them up, but we assure you, they are all real. At least in Jerusalem, they are.

Scroll to the end... for a surprise!


אֲבוּיוֹיוֹ - Abuyoyo

In the rest of Israel: שַׂק קֶמַח Sak Kemah

Abuyoyo is the Jerusalem term for Piggyback Ride. The origin of the word isn't really clear, but any true Jerusalemite knows, if you want to give a ride on your back, you offer them an Abuyoyo.

אֶבֶן ג'וּק - Even Jook

In the rest of Israel: אֶבֶן נְיָר וּמִסְפָּרַיִם Even Niyar Umisparayim

This is simply the Jerusalem term for the Rock, Scissors, Paper game. Same rules like in the rest of the world, no politics involved here.


אַגּ'וּאִים - Adjuim

In the rest of Israel: גּוֹגוֹאִים Gogoim

An Adju is the pit of the apricot. The beginning of the summer vacation is the end of the apricot season, so kids in Israel like to play games with the pits. At least in our time, we enjoyed it. The word Adju originates from the Arabic word for pit.

אֶשְׁתַּנּוּר - EshTanur

In the rest of Israel: לַאפָה Laffa

EshTanur (fire-oven in Hebrew) or laffa in the rest of the country, is the large pita bread that you stuff with falafel or shawarma and looks like a Mediterranean burrito.



בַּמְבָּלִיק- Bambalik

In the rest of Israel: לִקְּרִיץ Likritz

Bambalik is the Jerusalem term for black licorice. For some reason, people in Jerusalem absolutely love this anise-flavored candy. Perhaps because it tastes like Arak.




וַואגָ'ארַאס - Wadjaras

In the rest of Israel: פּוֹזָה Pozah

This word is a term for someone playing all cool, or pretending he's something that he's not. Jerusalemites don't like it when people aren't themselves or don't say what they want clearly.



מַאָאתַיִם - Ma'atayim

In the rest of Israel: מָאתַיִם Matayim

Ma'atayim is just the way Jerusalemites say the number 200, mostly the old-timers. You can usually hear this slang in Mahane Yehuda Shuk when the veteran vendors shout out their prices.


פִּינְיוֹנְס - Pinyoness

In the rest of Israel: צְנוֹבָּר Tz'nobar

Pinyoness is a shelled pine-nut, that kids pick out from the pine cone, and crack open with a small rock.




קוּלוּלוּשׁ - Kululush

In the rest of Israel: הֶפְקֵר Hefker

This is the call when a kid wants to throw a collection of something in the air, say Adjuim for example, or game cards, and then the thrown bundle is free for all.



So you see, even though Israel is such a small country, there are still cities and places that you can get to and feel like you're a complete alien. This list should help you next time you arrive in Jerusalem, hopefully, that will happen soon!

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