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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Treppenwitz in Hebrew! Who knew?!

A sharp-eyed reader of this blog emailed me to tell me he'd come across the phrase; “חוכמת חדר מדרגות” ... [which translates as 'the wisdom of the stairwell'], while reading an article in the Israeli daily Maariv.

How cool is that?  Obviously I knew about the word treppenwitz [duh!].  I'd also seen the French expression 'esprit d'escalier' [staircase wit/spirit].  But who knew that Hebrew had gotten so hip?!

Hat tip to Elli

Posted by David Bogner on September 30, 2009 | Permalink


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I wonder if the expression exists in many other languages.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Sep 30, 2009 9:05:44 PM

So far, German, French, and now Hebrew. Probably many others as well.

Posted by: Mark | Oct 2, 2009 7:13:56 AM

Whenever I heard the French, I always imagined one of those grand staircases leading away from a ballroom. I'm sure a socio-economic point can be made to explain why the Hebrew term is "stairwell."

Posted by: Nachum Lamm | Oct 2, 2009 11:26:11 AM

translated idioms...
Considering the amount of Yekkes in the country, no surprise that it exists. But as a former Israeli apartment owner/resident, I think of "chochmat cheder madregot" in a different way. Sort of like us bloggers, blogging our opinions without any influence. As a hs EFL teacher here, I've had to explain so many English idioms, I've become very creative.

Posted by: Batya from Shiloh | Oct 4, 2009 6:15:28 AM

I'd always heard of the French expression first. I think the thing I love most about חוכמת חדר מדרגות is that there's no one word for stairwell and it's a room of stairs literally, like M.C. Escher.

Posted by: Vicki | Oct 7, 2009 5:16:05 PM

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