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About the word היוש

Hiyush (היוש) is a modern greeting taking Israel by storm. Where did it come from, and how did it come to be so commonplace?


You won't go anywhere in Israel these days without hearing 'היוש'

Move over, ׳היי׳, it's all about היוש now. You can't miss it - young Israelis all over the country will greet you with היוש, you'll hear them say it on the phone, or while recording a voice message.


There are many ways of saying hello in Israel - let’s dive into one of the most essential phrases in any language.


Shalom - שלום


Shalom (שלום) may be the most widely known Hebrew word outside of Israel, both as a greeting (hello, and goodbye), as well as


meaning peace. Today, we use שלום to describe the opposite from peace but also as hello. In fact, in the Tanach (Jewish bible), Shalom is used for saying hello to someone’ Shalom also formed the greeting שלום עליכם, and later in the 17th century the question מה שלומך appeared that it is commonly used by Hebrew speakers.


A'hlan - אהלן and more


Hebrew speakers are also aware that we have adopted אהלן from Palestinian Arabic, that came from אהלן וסהלן which basically means welcome.


"שלום", "מה שלומך?", "מה נשמע?", "מה העניינים?" ו"אהלן"

were the dominant greetings in the first half of the 20th century, but new greetings were added to them that were in use until the end of the century.


Let’s take a look at the greeting מה המצב. It had been in use for a long time in the 1980s, and is still popular today. A similar thing also happened to the question מה עניינים - this is also very common nowadays.


And finally… הי והיוש


It wasn’t until the 1920s when Israelis began using the word hello, as a special greeting used at the beginning of a telephone conversation, which comes from the English greeting ‘hello.’ The word has been in use as a word to attract attention since 1826.


An interesting thing also happened with היי . In a socio-linguistic study of kibbutz members published by the sociologist Oz Almog in 1991, it was written that 30% of the kibbutz members he interviewed said that the greeting of ‘peace’ used by them was "Hi" (in second place were "What's up?" and "Hello", each with 18%).


In the 1980s, the diminutive ending ‘ush’ (which came from Polish through Yiddish and was used in Hebrew mainly to create affectionate pronouns such as "hanush") was added to the affectionate pronoun ‘mami’ (which came to Hebrew from Morocco) to create mamush, a word of endearment. From this, other words with the suffix ״וש״ were born, including the word היוש.


Since then, the use of the word is increasing, mainly among young women, but not only. It is a well-known fact that new language phenomena tend to appear first among young women and then in the general public, so it is certainly possible that one day the "Yush" will be the main blessing of peace in Hebrew.


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