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Basic Hebrew Vocabulary: Family

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 3/2/2012

Learn how to address members in your family in Hebrew. From grandmother to cousins and nephews. Impress everyone with your language skills at your next family reunion!

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    Want to learn how to say "grandmother" in Hebrew? How about "father" and "mother"? This article will discuss the terms used to address various family members. If you have family members who are familiar with Hebrew, address them with the correct term and watch their eyes light up.

    One quick tip: If you're addressing a family member using one of these terms, add a "י" at the end. For example, if you were addressing your brother, you would say "aḥi" (אחי) to mean "my brother" instead of just "brother."

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    Immediate Family Members

    This section names the most common family terms used refer to immediate family members. Most Hebrew-speaking families call their parents "Eema" (אמא) and "Abba" (אבא).

    A brother is referred to as an "aḥ" (אח), and a sister as an "aḥot" (אחות).

    A son is normally called a "ben" (בן) but can also be referred to more formally as a "bar" (בר), which is where the term "bar mitzvah" comes from—meaning "son of good deeds." A daughter is a "bat/bas" (בת).

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    Extended Family Members

    The Hebrew word for grandmother is "savta" (סבתא), and the Hebrew word for grandfather is "sabba" (סבא). It is not uncommon for a Hebrew-speaking grandmother or grandfather to be called "Savta Adina" or "Sabba Moshe," with the word appended to their names as a title.

    The Hebrew term for grandson is "neḥed" (נכד) and for granddaughter is "neḥda" (נכדה).

    An uncle is called a "dod" (דוד), and an aunt is a "dodah" (דודה), which is logical when you consider the fact that adding a "ה" to a word changes it from masculine to feminine. These titles are often appended to a person’s name, similar to "sabba" and "savta." While uncles and aunts get their own titles, cousins are only seen as extensions of the uncles and aunts, and therefore are referred to more indirectly. A male cousin is referred to as a "ben dod" (בן דוד), or the son of an uncle, and a female cousin is referred to as a "bat/bas dodah" (בת דודה), or the daughter of an aunt

    Click here to view a printable download of the Hebrew vocabulary for the family relationships listed below.