A Fun Competition

There’s a competition at the end of this post.

I listened to this week’s Last Word from BBC Radio 4. Sir Richard MacCormac, an architect who recently died (obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t be on Last Word) said, after explaining that his interest in architecture came from making things as a child:

I now feel an essential aspect of creativity is a kind of playfulness.

This is certainly true of writing. Writers enjoy playing with words. When penning my last post, I particularly liked the beginning paragraph:

These are the comments that halted me in my perusal of the Internet this morning and made me decide to pour out part of my inner world. Sorry if it makes a stain on your day.

Although I went on to some serious stuff, I had fun playing with the opening words.

My Scrabble partners, A, G and D, and my Boggle partners, D and D, will testify to my love of word games. Most writers play word games when they write, employing several techniques in the process. One of those is onomatopoeia. says this is:

1. the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk,  or boom,  by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent.
2. a word so formed.
3. the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words for rhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect.
In other words, I’m talking about words that sound like the things they represent.
Then I came across a list of Hebrew onomatopoeic words, which I have tried to transliterate as closely as possible:
  1. Tsartsar
  2. Bakbook
  3. Zimzoom
  4. Rishroosh
  5. Tiftoof
  6. Girgoor
  7. Gimgoom
  8. Pkak
  9. Pitzpootz

So here’s the competition. Without looking anything up (I’ll have to trust you on that), can you guess what those words mean? Write your answers in the comments and I’ll decide who wins the prize of… well, it depends who wins and whether that person has read Neither Here Nor There, but it might well be the novel itself.

Hint: They are all nouns and most of them translate to “ing” words.


  1. The competition is open to anyone who doesn’t know Hebrew.
  2. The competition will end when I decide to end it, so don’t tarry.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life. Social anxiety warrior. Cultivating a Fuji, edition 3, a poignant, humorous and uplifting tale, published with Ocelot Press, January 2023.

17 replies on “A Fun Competition”

I’m really confused about the noun/verb thing – you say they’re all nouns, but most translate into ‘ing’ words, which makes them verbs … or am I making life too complicated?

Sorry, Jo. It’s to do with the translation, I suppose. I meant noun as in “the doing” “the eating”. But it really doesn’t matter whether you think of it as a noun or a verb, as long as you get the meaning.

Right, I’ll give it a go:

Tsartsar – that noise made my daddy-long-legs when they rub their legs together

Bakbook – the noise made when you slam a book shut

Zimzoom – the sound of a car whizzing past

Rishroosh – that puffing when you almost miss the train

Tiftoof – tiptoeing in clogs

Girgoor – a Russian dog

Gimgoom – the noise small boys make when they pretend to be aeroplanes

Pkak – a small parcel clip.

Pitzpootz – urgent toilet needs!!

1.Tsartsar: the sound of an actress swishing her hair.
2. Bakbook: the clip-clop of camel hooves on rock.
3. Zimzoom: the sound a peeler makes when slicing courgettes (zucchini) lengthways.
4. Rishroosh: the noise a mother makes when she has reached the end of her patience.
5. Tiftoof: the sound of inexperienced kissing.
6. Girgoor: retch-and-vomit (sorry, but it does sound like that).
7. Gimgoom: the sound of a drums and trumpets being played together
8. Pkak: the noise a crow makes.
9. Pitzpootz: the sound that skis make when you turn while skiing (kind of unlikely to be the Hebrew meaning, I know…)

Thank you, Cathy! Brilliant ideas. And by the way, we have a ski resort in the north of the country. Last winter, in Jerusalem, snow fell for three days: Here’s one of my posts about it.

When I saw on fb that you had had a competition, I was really sorry that I missed it. Now having read it, I wouldn’t have been eligible anyway. How can I make sure I don’t miss the next one?

I don’t run competitions very often, Ellie. I think I’ve only run two in five years! But now that you’ve followed my blog (thanks), you’ll be able to read all my posts.

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