Spoiler alert: In Hebrew, people just say “spoiler”

How do you say “spoiler” in Hebrew? That’s easy. It’s “spoiler” (but with an Israeli accent).

I don’t think anyone actually knows that according to the Academy of the Hebrew Language, there is a dedicated word in Hebrew for spoiler: “Kal-k-lan” (קַלְקְלָן).

So the other day, I was listening to the “One a day” podcast in Hebrew (by N12). In this specific episode (28.3.2024), journalist Elad Simchayoff was interviewing renown author Etgar Keret. The two were discussing his new book that will be hitting the shelves next month. But they were obviously trying to talk about the storyline without giving too much away. Or as Simchayoff put it: “Without too many spoilers.”

A few minutes later, there was an ad for an insurance company, where the guy say: “Of course I have [car insurance], I invested in spoilers,” and then adds: “Spoiler: I’m going to take out home insurance as well.”

This was all in Hebrew, of course, except for the recurring English word “spoiler.” Which got me thinking. Which got me writing. Which led to this post 😊

What’s really interesting is that the verb “to spoil” could have a negative connotation, as in ruining something; but it also has a more positive meaning – treating someone really well, generously, even. Quite the opposite, wouldn’t you say?

By the way, I had no idea what a spoiler for a car was, so the pun of the ad was lost on me. Thanks, Guy, for explaining it to me. It turns out that the spoiler on the rear of a car prevents the wind from slowing it down. Who knew?…

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