Monday, June 27, 2011

Phrase of the Day: B'Seder

Appropriately enough after my last post, today's word is "b'seder." This word/phrase is ubiquitous in Israel. That means it is everywhere. Israelis say "b'seder" more than teenage girls say "like."

Literally, it means "in order." It generally means "ok" or "fine" or "everything will be ok." You can even end your sentences with it, like tacking "right?" to the end of the sentence.

But really, it seems to mean anything you want it to mean, so long as you are answering with an affirmative response of some kind. However, I've never heard it used enthusiastically. It reminds me of how Americans say "fine." Alternatively, when I'm stressed, I can stop and say, "B'seder." It will be ok. Soon, Gdwilling.

Some questions you can answer with b'seder:
  • How are you?
  • How about getting dinner next week?
  • Is everything b'seder?
  • Will you marry me?
  • How was your final exam?
  • How was the party?
My favorite quote about b'seder is "It does seem a little ironic to me – if my translation is right, 'b’seder' actually means 'in order,' but it seems to be used when nothing is in order at all."

3 comments:

  1. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    Sorry, but "Have you house-trained your puppy yet?" Cannot be answered with "B'seder". The others, yes.

    This is basically an abbreviated form of "Yehiyeh b'seder", or "Everything will be ok", which is an approach to life (or a sarcastic response)more than a phrase.

    Also see "Al tidag", which I have been told may be related to the Yiddish "alteh dag", which also translates as "geshtinkeh fish".

    Explanation available if necessary.

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  2. Are you sure it can't be used as a resigned "It'll be ok"? I've heard it used that way for questions like "Have you studied for your exam?"

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  3. The Curmudgeonly Israeli Giyoret says:

    In both cases, one would reply, "Yehiyeh b'seder", but not just "b'seder".

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