What's the Hebrew word for fidget spinner?

The Academy of the Hebrew Language asks children to send in their suggestions.

May 15, 2017 16:38
2 minute read.
Fidget Spinner

Fidget Spinner. (photo credit: FLORIAN SCHÄFFER/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)


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They’re the biggest craze to sweep the globe since Pokemon Go, Furbies and Beanie Babies.

Today it seems every kid and a significant number of adults are walking around with a fidget spinner in their back pocket.

But The Academy of the Hebrew Language is looking to give the ubiquitous toy a more Hebraic name.

“Since the game has captured the attention of Israel’s children, The Academy of the Hebrew Language has received many requests from children to offer this toy a Hebrew name,” it wrote.

But, the academy said, it recognizes that the fad may disappear as quickly as it arrives on the scene. So in the meantime, the academy is inviting students to “submit their proposals to the academy website,” which will make them available to the public.

The academy noted that it does not currently intend to release an official Hebrew word for the spinner, since it “is not yet sufficiently present in the language.” But, the academics at the center said, it is an excellent educational exercise in the field of word innovation, especially for those so enamored by the new toy.

Fidget spinners appeared almost out of nowhere in the past month to quickly become the latest trend.

The top 20 best-selling toys on Amazon right now are all varieties on the spinner – with different materials, shapes and sizes. The toy, a three-pronged design with a weight in the center that lets users “spin” the outer pieces endlessly, has had a slew of media coverage on its origins.

In dozens of media interviews across the globe, Catherine Hettinger, a woman from Orlando, took credit for inventing the toy. Depending on the publication, Hettinger offered two differing stories: that she dreamed it up as relief for those suffering from ADD and ADHD, or that she imagined it as a way to distract Palestinian kids from throwing rocks at Israeli police.

It is unclear which of those stories is real, but it is clear that the toy Hettinger created and patented in 1997 (the patent lapsed in 2005) is not the creation that is currently spinning its way through classrooms and offices around the world.

Bloomberg News recently debunked the connection, noting that patent experts “came away skeptical of its connection to the current fad,” and that Hettinger admitted she herself wasn’t sure there was any link.

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