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October 9, 2015 / 26 Tishri, 5776
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In Hebrew: ‘Shopping’

A daily dose of Hebrew.


Whereas שׁוֹפִּינְג (shoh-ping) is still the term that refers to that activity that my mother loves so much, shopping for clothes, Israelis call general shopping – like for food and electronics – קְנִיּוֹת.

קְנֵה פָּחוֹת, חְיֵה יוֹתֵר
buy less, live more
(picture of graffiti at a bus stop in Tel Aviv).

For example:

עָשִׂיתִי קְנִיּוֹת אֶתְמוֹל בַּסּוּפֶּר.

I went (literally, did) shopping yesterday at the supermarket.

קניות comes from the active-simple פָּעַל verb, לִקְנוֹת, which means, in Modern Hebrew, to buy or to purchase (in Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew, it also means to possess).

A single act of purchasing is a קְנִיָּה, in Modern Hebrew (in Rabbinic literature, this is aקִנְיָן).

For example:

אֶתְמוֹל עָשִׂיתִי קְנִיָּה גְּדוֹלָה.עַכְשָׁיו יֵשׁ מַסְפִּיק אֹכֶל.

Yesterday I made a big purchase. Now there’s plenty of (literally, enough) food. 

From the same root of ק.נ.ה, a shopping mall is a קַנְיוֹן.

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About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.

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