I have a patent!

In Israel the word ‘patent’ (פטנט), prounounced ‘puh-tent’ has taken on a special new meaning. Usually it is part of one of these two sentences:

‘על תדאג, יש פטנט’ or ‘יש לי פטנט’.

These mean ‘No worries, there’s a patent’ or ‘I have a patent’!

Not only is פטנט a word to describe some type of patented technology, but in most cases is used to describe a trick, a specific product, a gimmick, or a special way of doing something. Every Israeli household has a few, every person claims to have or know a few, and basically this whole country runs on an incredible amount of ‘patentim’ (פטנטים). Even Uri Zohar, a famous entertainer, wrote a song called ‘The Patentim Song’ (שיר הפטנטים). It talks about the creative Jewish/Israeli mind.

A couple of classic patentim:

The shade creator – Using an unfolded cardboard box, Israelis place this on their dashboard to cover the front windshield and prevent the 40 degree Celsius sun from creating a sauna effect in their car. It especially prevents you from getting 1st degree burns when touching the steering wheel.

The nafnaf (נפנף) – a specially designed piece of plastic used for flaming the fire on your israeli bbq called a mangal.

I’m sure you all have a few patentim up your sleeves, so please feel free to share your patentim or patentim you’ve seen in Israel that made you crack up.

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One Response to I have a patent!

  1. Ethan says:

    The first that comes to mind is the פלייר פטנט. AKA Vice-grip:
    http://www.bigmarket.co.il/Product.asp?Pid=4540005&Cat2Cat1ID=15&Cat2ID=103

    And of course there are all the little household appliances that have a “global patent!!” on them, like some types of garlic peelers or can openers.

    In general, patent is (as stated) used as “trick” or particular way of doing things. Which is what patented inventions usually enable. So it’s not that huge a grammatical leap.

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