Annoying Hebrew slang
Courtesy of Eurovision, Teapacks, and Iran.

I recently heard Israel's entry to the Eurovision song contest, a Teapacks song called Push the Button (video, lyrics). It's a good thing the lyrics are available on-line, because I can't understand the words to most songs in English, much less in rapped Hebrew. I think I learned a new word:

שוטרים וגנבים מתרוצצים עלי
והם קופצים עלי, מתקרצצים עלי

Shotrim veganavim mitrotzetzim alay
Vehem koftzim alay, mitkartzetzim alay

This is translated somewhere as "Cops and robbers run all over me / And they're jumping on me, getting on my case." I didn't know the word מתקרצץ, but judging from chat groups it means something like "annoy, suck up to, give too much attention to, glom onto" (e.g. כשחיפשתי דירה בבית הסטודנט, התקרצץ אלי איזה זקן -- "when I looked for an apartment in the student house, this old guy started getting in my face"; or המלצר ששירת אותנו התקרצץ עלינו בצורה דביקה במיוחד -- "the waiter who served us glommed onto us in a really sticky way").

Where does it come from? My father read to me over the phone from Milon Slang Makif, Comprehensive Dictionary of Slang, by one Rosenthal, which connects it to the word קריצה, meaning "winking, blinking." (Interesting that the Milon defines the reflexive - hitpa'el - as "to be annoyed," while on the basis of Internet usage, and from the Teapacks song, the hitpa'el functions here as an intensifier - to annoy.) Presumably קרצץ is formed by duplicating the last letter of קרץ. (Google doesn't know much about קרצץ.)

Rosenthal's Milon Slang Makif connects the word to קרציה tick. (Thanks to Balashon and an anonymous commenter for corrections.)

And k-r-tz (קרץ) is a well-known root from Tanach and modern Hebrew. In modern Hebrew it means "blink" (as mentioned above), but Rabbinically and Biblically the word also encompasses "pinch, cut; snap [the fingers]". Here's where I should get off the train and let Balashon, with his greater knowledge and fuller bookshelves, drive the etymology forward. Or is that backward?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:12 PM

    You have it all wrong :-)

    It comes from the word קרציה = Kartsia, which means: a leech or a parasite.

    So, "Mitkartzetzim" is a slang word in Hebrew which means (sort of): harrassing me like a leech (because they're always around me - bothering me).

    I hope I helped :-)