Monthly Archives: August 2004

Don’t call her babe

Hebrew first:

בשבוע שעבר היינו בסרט, ובועז, שמעורה בתרבות הנוער העכשווית, סיפר לנו שיש מונח סלנג חדש עבור בחורה שווה.
וואו. אמרתי אני לא מאמין. הצליחו למצוא משהו עוד יותר מעליב מ"כוסית".

Now, let’s pretend non-Hebrew speakers might read this:

Last week, we went out to a movie, and Boaz, who is familiar with contemporary youth culture, told us that there’s a new slang term for a worthy babe.
Svira (which translates as "reasonable". Something like "tolerable" or "adequate" or even "worthwhile", except without the positive connotations implicit in the English understatement of the word).

Wow, I said, I can’t believe it. They managed to come up with something even more insulting than "Qoosit"(*).

Qoosit – the ubiquitous Israeli term for a hot chick since, oh, since my high-school days, I guess – is a construct combining the Arabic word for "cunt" with the feminine form – I like to translate it as "cuntette". Initially shocking, and still considered rude by some prudes (Oren Genkin wrote that he reserves it for TV bimbos and Lara Croft, and would never use it for a woman he respected) – it’s currently in very broad use, by both men and women. There’s even a masculine form of it – Qooson – although that one is thankfully less widespread in use (it’s used mostly by very unselfconscious girls).

Anyway, Qoosit, once you get past the shock, is funny. It actually sounds more natural to me than the alternatives – the somewhat dated "Haticha", the American "Babe" (which infected Israel slang for a season or so) or even more awkward options (Oren O. uses "Qoozina", which in classic Israeli hybrid slang form means "female cousin", but that reeks to me of antiquated Kibbutz culture).

But "Svira" is just fucking sad. It stinks of cynical, disaffected, jaded, artificial, sterile locker-room talk. Sterile men’s talk, how’s that for an aberration?