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Hebrew Clothing Vocabulary: How to Use the Hebrew Word for Hat Posted by on Jul 22, 2019 in Vocabulary

A hat is a clothing item that is practical and fashionable all year long.

Image via Pixabay

The Hebrew word for hat is a two-syllable word – כּוֹבַע. The first syllable is כּוֹ (pronounced as ‛ko’), and the second is בַע (pronounced as ‛va’). כּוֹבַע is a masculine noun (as indicated by its ending with consonant) and therefore its demonstrative pronoun, the adjectives describing it, and the verbs referring to it are all masculine as well.

When talking about a hat, and referring to a specific one, we use the singular masculine demonstrative pronoun זֶה (pronounced as ze). When talking about a hat but not a specific one, we use the singular masculine third party pronoun הוּא (pronounced as hu) For example:

זֶה הַכּוֹבַע שֶׁלׅי.

that’s my hat.

זֶה הַכּוֹבַע הֲכִי יָקָר בַּחֲנוּת.

This is the most expensive hat in the store.

כּוֹבַע הוּא כִּסּוּי רֹאשׁ.

A hat is a head covering.

כּוֹבַע הוּא פְּרִיט חוֹבָה בְּכָל אָרוֹן.

A hat is a must-have in any wardrobe.

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When talking about a hat, adjectives and verbs should be in their singular form. For example:

אֵיזֶה כּוֹבַע יָפֶה!

What a lovely hat!

מָה דְּעָתֵךְ עַל הַכּוֹבַע הַחָדָשׁ שֶׁלׅי?

What do you think about my new hat?

הַכּוֹבַע הַיָּרֹוק מַמָּשׁ הוֹלֵם אוֺתְךָ.

The green hat really suits you.

כּוֹבַע מְשַׁדְרֵג כֹּל תִּלְבֹּושֶׁת.

A hat upgrades every outfit.

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כּוֹבַע’s plural form is כּוֹבַעׅים (pronounced as ko-va-im). The first two syllables pronunciation hadn’t changed. A third syllable was added to create the plural form – ׅים (‛im’). Adjectives and verbs referring to כּוֹבַעׅים should be masculine, of course, but in their plural form. For example:

יֵשׁ לׅי רַק כּוֹבַעׅים כְּחוּלׅים.

I only have blue hats.

כּוֹבַעׅים זוֺלׅים אֶפְשָׁר לׅמְצוֺא בַּשׂוּק.

Cheap hats can be found in the market.

רֹוב הַכּוֹבַעׅים שֶׁלׅי מְרֻפָּטׅים.

Most of my hats are worn-out.

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After we choose a hat – זֶה הַכּוֹבַע שֶׁאֲנׅי רוֺצֶה (this is the hat I want); or buy a hat זֶה הַכּוֹבַע שֶׁקָּנׅיתׅי (this is the hat I bought) – it’s time to put it on. There are three verbs meaning to put on a hat: לׅלְבּוֺשׁ (to wear), לָשׂׅים (to put), and לַחְבּוֺשׂ (to put on a head covering).

לׅלְבּוֺשׁ (to wear) is the regular verb for clothing. It refers to any piece of clothing: shirt, pants, coat, dress; and hats as well. It appears in ancient Jewish texts, in which it refers specifically to hats among other clothing.

לָשׂׅים (to put) is another general verb for clothing items. לָשׂׅים (to put) is much more common in spoken Hebrew. But it is colloquial, and some scholars and teachers strongly object to the use of this verb when referring to clothes. They believe the use of a general verb that can be attribute to any object – put your bag in its place, I put your book on the table, please put the ball down – is less adequate when talking about clothing. If you are not strict as them you can use the verb לָשׂׅים referring to your hat, and still be understood.

לַחְבּוֺשׂ (to put on a head covering) is a high language. It is a specific verb for hats and bandages. In the past, head coverings were made of bandage-like cloth and were wrapped around the head like a bandage. The verb לַחְבּוֺשׂ therefore became adequate to both hats and any kind of bandages. For example:

הוּא חָבַשׁ כּוֹבַע וְיָצָא הַחוּצָה.

He put on a hat and went out.

בְּיוֺם קַיִץ חַם חַיָּיבִים לׅלְבּוֺשׁ כּוֹבַע.

On a hot summer day you must wear a hat.

קָדִימָה, שׂׅים כּוֹבַע וְנֵצֵא.

Hurry on, put on a hat and let’s go.

אַף פַּעַם לֺא רָאׅיתׅי אוֺתְךָ חוֺבֵשׁ אֶת אוֺתוֺ כּוֹבַע פַּעֲמַיׅים.

I never saw you wearing the same hat twice.

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There are many different kinds of hats. In Hebrew, most hat styles become a construct state – a phrase of two nouns that connect to each other. The first word of the phrase is hat, the second elaborates the shape, material, purpose, etc. of the hat. For example:

Straw hat כּוֹבַע קַשׁ
Baseball cap כּוֹבַע מִצְחִיָּה
Woolen Cap כּוֹבַע צֶמֶר
Toque, knitted hat כּוֹבַע גֶּרֶב
Flat cap קַסְקֶט
Tembel hat (a round brimless hat) כּוֹבַע טֶמְבֶּל
Bathing cap, swimming cap כּוֹבַע יָם
Shower cap כּוֹבַע רַחְצָה

When a construct state is made definite, the definite article prefix hey hayedia is used with the second noun. For example:

כּוֹבַע הַמִּצְחִיָּה הַיָּרֹוק שַׁיָּיךְ לׅי.

The green baseball cap belongs to me.

However, when a construct state appears in its plural form, only the first noun is changed into the plural. The second noun stays without changing. For example:

רֹוב כּוֹבַעֵי הָרַחְצָה הֵם חַד-פַּעֲמִיּׅים.

Most bathing caps are disposable.

Not all Hebrew kinds of hats are of a construct state. Some are only one word, for example:

Brimmed hat מִגְבַּעַת
Nightcap מִצְנֶפֶת
Helmet קַסְדָּה

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For a good practice of the word hat and its usages watch this short episode from the children channel:

Keep Calm and Learn Hebrew!



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