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?


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.

  • 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
  • Who's misusing these? The Gemara itself uses such verbs and verb phrases as nouns. The Anglicization (or Yeshivishization) of these words in that pattern might strike you as more unpleasant, but it's not original to English or new by any stretch. You can see it frequently in more "recent" Halachic literature, such as 17th century supercommentaries on the Shulhan 'Aruch. – Seth J Nov 10 '14 at 19:30
  • @SethJ, I don't know anywhere that an example I give is used in the g'mara itself as a noun, but I don't know much g'mara. In any event, it's still a verb or what-have-you used as a noun (even if it was first so used in the g'mara itself), so is an answer to the question above. – msh210 Nov 10 '14 at 20:04
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/q/50506 – msh210 Dec 16 '14 at 19:55

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?


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


to keep kosher

understanding kosher

*Unless כשר is a stative verb!


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??

  • 1
    Kores. (That's with a cholam, not a kamatz.) – msh210 Jan 24 '11 at 2:49
  • 1
    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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