February 26, 2020

Hebrew Word of the Week: savlanut

A very common word in Israeli Hebrew, even if it is not always put into practice; derived from s-b-l “to carry a load; to endure; to suffer.” Likewise, the English (Latin) word “patient” means “one who endures” as well as “a sick, suffering, person (in a hospital).”

Some related words: sabbal “porter, bearer of loads”; sevel “suffering; burden”; svolet “endurance, tolerance”; sovlanut “tolerance”; mesubbalim “pregnant (cattle)” (Psalms 144:14); hu lo sovel otah “He cannot stand her”; nisbal tolerable”; savil “passive (person, verb).”

Yona Sabar is a professor of Hebrew and Aramaic in the department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures at UCLA.