Tuesday, October 28, 2008


O yes! O is the letter of the day. Welcome to ABC Wednesday,
where bloggers have fun playing with the alphabet. You can try too.

Oi veh, I thought, which of the many O words to choose?!
OK, let's take that big word I never know how to spell: ONOMATOPOEIA .

Onomatopoeia (from Greek ονοματοποιΐα) is a word or grouping of words that imitates the sound it describes (e.g. the animal noise meow) or suggests its source object (e.g. click, buzz, or bang). Greek όνομα, onoma, means name and ποιέω, poieō, means I make or I create, so it means name-creation.

Let's hear some Hebrew examples of onomatopoeia. My favorite is bakbuk. It means bottle. Doesn't it sound like liquid being poured from a bottle? bakbuk bakbuk bakbuk
BTW, this is also my favorite liqueur: chocolate! A tiny bit mixed with soda water or even milk, yum. Or on ice cream.

A tiftuf is water dripping, leaking. Or a light rain.
After years of drought Israel may soon run out of water. This tiftuf in the photo is at the Mekorot national water authority station in my village, of all places!

Tof is the onomatopoeiac Hebrew word for drum. Tof-Miriam is what we call a tambourine or timbrel.
This Miriam is one of the female Bible heroes portrayed in a dome in Jerusalem's Dormition Abbey.

Gur is a lion cub or a puppy. Grrr

Zvuv is a fly. Well, actually this is more a picture of a stinging insect. What he did was zimzem--he made a buzzing noise.

Has is the verb asking you to hush. Sha, sha means shhh, be still.

Rishroosh is the sound of waves lapping on the shore, like above at the Sea of Galilee.
The most well-known and well-loved use of the word is in the song by Hannah Senesh. (Can be heard on YouTube.)
ELI, ELI (Halicha L'kesariya)
Eli, Eli
Shelo yigamer le'olam:
Hachol vehayam
Rishrush shel hamayim
Berak hashamayim
Tefilat ha-adam.
Oh God!
Let it last forever,
the sand, the sea,
the lapping of the waves,
the glitter of the stars,
the prayer of men.
(translation by anonymous)


  1. Hi Dina,

    A lovely and thoughtful post. And hey I even had a Greek lesson - there have been so many of those.

    Thanks for that


  2. This is a wonderfully rewarding post. Your choices are definitely onomatopoeiatic! Or is that the right adjective?

  3. What a beautiful, moving song.

    And a great choice of a word for "O' -- not even going to try and spell it out!

  4. Dina, this is an awesome choice for O today! I love those words and they truly are grest examples of this particular writing style.

  5. So interesting! I learned a lot! I used to think all the boys in college that took greek were SO smart! Now I think you are SO smart : )!

  6. Thank you for this nice and funny post. We too have many of those words. Tuftuf was the word used by a little kid for car or train. Very wonderful to do this ABC meme I am grateful to you to help me doing this six months ago.

  7. Ray, you're so lucky to live in Greece and actually hear Greek.

    Granny Smith, LOL you are making it even longer than it is! The adjective is onomatopoeiac. I had to look it up, copy and paste to make sure I got it right. :)

    Kaybee, you liked the song? Good!
    Me too. In fact, it is the only song I can play on the violin.

    Leslie, isn't language fun?!

    Rebeckah, you make me LOL. :D
    I wish *I* had taken Greek in college, I'd be a lot smarter now.

    Wil, tuftuf? Nice word. For both car and train? I'll try it out on my two Dutch friends here in the village. Was it six months ago? My, my. Now you are an "old pro" in the blogging business.

  8. Great onomatopoeias! Enjoyed seeing your world too... those spices are amazing!

  9. what a beautiful collage of the hebrew heartbeat.

    and I love the french version of silence that must be oil on wood.merci.

    You are so open minded beautiful Dina. I have been sharing this address you may be interested.I haven't really delved into it yet too much but it seems so cool and mind expanding.


  10. The world of the Blog is like a University! I learn so much! And your words were eye-openers. The English one that comes to my mind is 'ZIP!'

  11. I enjoy all your posts, but I especially love your Wednesday alphabet posts. They're always so imaginative. Truly wonderful, thank you. I hope you didn't take that picture of the lion yourself.

  12. Out of all your examples of Onomatopoeia I tnink I like "Gur"
    the best.
    How very appropriate.
    Grrr!!! (for bears of course)

    Bear((( )))

  13. Terrific! This was so interesting! I love the bakbuk. that dessert sounds great, by the way.

  14. I am not sure how I found your blog, I was wandering around blog-land. The fact that I found it today with this incredible post made today my lucky day.

    I'll be back, for sure!

  15. I love the Miriam mosaic, and the word Rishroosh!

  16. excellent post, a great lesson.

  17. Wonderful and so thought provoking! Thank you for translating the prayer. Simple but so powerful.

  18. A beautiful post. I love onomatopoeic words. Even the simplest ones like 'moo' or 'meow'. The ones you quote here with regard to water - tiftuf and rishroosh - are quite lovely!

  19. what a lovely poem now you interpreted!
    The wods so do sound like the things describing!

  20. Very clever and so thoughtful. I love your spice entry the day before as well. Glad to know you Dina and miss you.

  21. Eli, eli is one of my all time favorite songs. Wonderful post, and I especially loved the Kinneret photo at the end.

  22. Dina..please stop by my blog ..I wanted to thank you for being one of my first blog visitors...Michelle

  23. What a wonderful, wonderful post. I've heard of onomatopoeia and didn't remember what it meant. It never occured to me there would be such words in other languages. Thank you so very much for this.
    Perfect O post for ABC Wednesday!

  24. I love your posts so much. I can honestly say I don't think anyone would have come up with that O.
    Great job.

  25. A wise young Israeli told me once about the saying "Is'tra bala'gina kish kish kareya" [with the emphasis on the kish kish].

    That wouldn't be out of place here...

  26. Hello Dina !
    You have a very thoughtful post, today !

    Lovely song, also...

  27. I never come away uninspired by your posts.


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