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People often say tznius when they mean to say tzanua. Do you know of any other examples in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Yiddish in which people use the noun but they really mean to use the adjective?

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4 Answers 4

Not specifically adjectival use of nouns, but:

  • man d'amar, Aram. non-constituent, to mean "opiner", noun
  • hava amina, Aram. verb phrase, to mean "first thought", noun
  • teku, Aram. verb, to mean "unresolved question", noun
  • ma matzinu, Heb. non-constituent (I think), to mean "logical argument from one thing to a comparable thing", noun
  • k'le kodesh, Heb. plural noun, to mean "one who works in religion", singular noun (should be k'li kodesh)
  • nafka minah, Aram. verb phrase, to mean "result", noun
  • upshern, Yid. verb (I think), to mean "haircut", noun

Surely someone will think of more, though.

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The term "upshern" is used especially by those who did originally have such a minhag!:) The correct term is "Upshernish" which is most definitely a noun. –  Yahu Jan 23 '11 at 20:10

A famous mispronunciation mixing active and passive: if Reuvein holds a gun to your head and says to kill Shimon, yaharog v'al ya'avor?

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Nominal use of the adjective* kasher (kaʃeʁˈ, mispronounced kʰoʊˈʃɹ̩)


to keep kosher

understanding kosher

*Unless כשר is a stative verb!

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You also have Ba'al Koreh, which would make sense to call the husband of the Torah reader for a women's minyan:)- O.K. that would be the ba'al hakor'ah?? Kor"eis??

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Kores. (That's with a cholam, not a kamatz.) –  msh210 Jan 24 '11 at 2:49
Ba3al Qeri'a:Ba3alath Qeri'a. (or, if you prefer the analogue to the popular but incorrect term, "Ba3ala Qoreith".) –  B.BarNavi Aug 10 '11 at 2:27

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