Israelis use the word “stam” (rhymes with mom) at every chance they get. Its root comes from the words for obstruction or clogging. It has no direct translation in English, but has various similarities in, such as:

  • Just kidding
  • Nothing
  • No reason in particular
  • Just because
  • Whatever

It can be used to follow up an insult or false statement to show that you were not serious about what you said, maliciously:

– You look beautiful tonight?
– Really?!?
– Stam!

Or playfully:

-That dress looks terrible on you.
-Stam! It looks great on you.

It can also show disappointment about an occurrence:

-I thought you said you had a date tonight.
-Stam. She had other plans.

Or avoidance:

-What are you doing in my underwear drawer??
-Stam. Just poking around.

Or acceptance of one’s lot:

-Why have you just been sitting around all day?
-Stam. I’ve got nothing better to do.

Note: If you really want to perturb someone, draw it out: Staaaaaaaaam!

One Response to “Hebrew Slang – “Stam”

  1. By: Pesah Pupnik
    Date: June 6, 2015 at 5:44 am

    Terrific posts. My thoughts: “stam” isn’t pronounce like “Mom.” Perhaps you’re thinking of the British “Mum.” Stam is best pronounced: “stahm.”
    Meah Achuz sounds like “may achooz,” IMHO because Israeli kids speak so fast and slur their words, meahachuz is slurred into one word and then may be separated to be funny or emphatic. I have never heard a mature Hebrew speaker say “may achuz.”

    I hear ototo from talking heads and reporters on Israeli tv all the time. I don’t know how it’s derivative from Iddish. Can we get more info from you on its origin and how it’s snuck into such common usage in Eretz Ha-Kodesh?
    I’m not thrilled to hear so much Arabic in Israeli slang, but I suppose that’s unavoidable and inevitable, as kids like to invent words or bring in words from a subgroup (like Black slang and incorrect grammar finding a place in common English parlance. But I have zero patience for Arabic music. Sorry, I hate it and its wailing and screeching.

    Great site and great posts. Look forward to learning more from you.

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