Yiddish words used by English-speaking Jews


Yiddish words used by English-speaking Jews

Yiddish words may be used in a primarily English language context. An English sentence that uses these words sometimes is said to be in Yinglish, however the primary meaning of Yinglish is an anglicism used in Yiddish.

This secondary sense of the term "Yinglish" describes the distinctive way certain Jews in English-speaking countries add many Yiddish words into their conversation, beyond general Yiddish words and phrases used by English speakers. In this meaning, Yinglish is not the same as Yeshivish, which is spoken by many Orthodox Jews, though the two share many parallels.

While "Yinglish" is generally restricted in definition to the adaptation of Yiddish lemmas to English grammar by Jews, its usage is not explicitly restricted to Jews. This is especially true in areas where Jews are highly concentrated, but in constant interaction with their Gentile fellows, esp. in the larger urban areas of North America. In such circumstances, it would not be unusual to hear, for example, a Gentile griping about having "shlepped" a package across town.

Yinglish was formerly assigned the ISO 639-3 code yib, but it was retired on July 18, 2007, on the grounds that it is entirely intelligible with English.[1][2]

Many of these words have not been assimilated into English and are unlikely to be understood by English speakers who do not have substantial Yiddish knowledge. Leo Rosten's book, The Joys of Yiddish,[3] explains these words (and many more) in detail. With the exceptions of blintz, kosher (used in English slang), and shmo, none of the other words in this list are labeled as Yinglish in Rosten's book.

See also List of English words of Yiddish origin.

Contents:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

  • aidim â€“ son-in-law, from middle-high-German eidam
  • a shande (Yid., אַ‮ ‬שאַנדע) â€“ a disgrace; one who brings embarrassment through mere association, cf. German eine Schande, translated "a disgrace", meaning "such a shame"
  • a shande far di goyim (Yid., אַ‮ ‬שאַנדע‮ ‬פֿאַר‮ ‬די‮ ‬גוים) â€“ "A disgrace before (in front of) the Gentiles," the scathing criticism of Judge Julius Hoffman by Abbie Hoffman during the trial of the Chicago Eight, whereby goyim means nation, people or non-Jews.
  • ay-ay-ay (Yid., אײַ־אײַ־אײַ) (sometimes spelled "ai-yi-yi" or spoken "Ei, yei, yei")[4]
  • abi gezunt! (Yid., אַבי‮ ‬געזונט) â€“ from German Aber gesund, literally "but healthy," meaning "As long as you're healthy!"; often used as an ironic punchline to a joke
  • abi me leibt (Yid., אַבי‮ ‬מע לעבט) - from German Aber man lebt, translated "At least I´m alive"
  • aleichem shalom â€“ "To you be peace" (the polite response to the greeting "Shalom aleichem")[5]
  • alter kicker or alter kocker (Yid., אַלטער‮ ‬קאַקער) â€“ a lecherous old man; an old fart (from German Alter "old" and kacker "crapper")[6]

B

  • balabusta  â€“ a homemaker; usually applied with positive connotations
  • bentch  â€“ to bless, commonly referred to saying Grace after meals (bentching)
  • bissel (Yid., ביסל) â€“ a small amount, "a pinch of" something (cf. Austrian/Bavarian bissl, a dialectal variant of the more standard German bisschen, "a little bit")
  • blintz (Yid., בלינצע blintse) â€“ a sweet cheese-filled crepe
  • bris â€“ the circumcision of a male child.
  • boichika â€“ Sweetheart.
  • bubbeh, bubbe, â€“ grandmother; pronounced like "book", not like the Southern U.S. nickname (cf. the Slavonic baba, "old woman" with different overtones in different languages)
  • bubala
  • bubbameisse â€“ Old wives' tale, cock and bull story (often attributed by erroneous folk etymology to combination of bubbe, "grandmother," and meisse, "tale", but in fact derives from "Bove-meisse," from the "Bove Bukh," the "Book of Bove", the chivalric adventures of fictitious knight Sir Bevys ("Bove") of Hampton, first published in Yiddish in 1541 and continually republished until 1910.
  • bubkes (also spelled "bupkis") â€“ emphatically nothing, as in He isn't worth bubkes (literally "goat droppings", in Polish "bobki")

C

  • capi
  • chalish â€“ literally, fainting, ("I was chalishing from hunger,") sometimes used as a term of desperate desire for something or someone ("After a thirty-six hour shift, I was chalishing to go home already.")
  • chazarai (Yiddish, חזירײַ khazerai 'filth' or, perhaps more literally, 'piggery', from חזיר khazer 'pig' from Hebrew חַזִיר "chazeer", pig) â€“ junk, garbage, junk food
  • chesid  â€“ good deed or favor. "Do me a chesid and clean your room."
  • chiddush â€“ a term used in the context of rhetoric and argumentation to mean a new forceful point brought into a discussion; innovation generally "I don't get it, what's the chiddush?"; the upshot or novel point made by an argument (from Hebrew Chadash, meaning 'new'); also used when you are making fun of someone for something entirely obvious. "Chiddush! Chiddush!"
  • cholent â€“ a stew cooked over night
  • chutzpah â€“ (Yid. from Heb.חצפה khutspe, alt. sp. חוצפה) ballsiness, "balls", guts, daring, audacity, effrontery. Has both a positive & negative connotation.

D

  • daven (as a verb): pray (referring to either of the three Jewish daily prayers).
  • dreck (Yid., דרעק from German "Dreck", "shit" (AKA: "fecal matter"), "dirt" ) â€“ Worthless or crappy material, can be used to refer to people or things, especially merchandise; (vulgar) "crap."
  • dybbuk â€“ (Yid. from Heb. דיבוק dibbuk, that which clings) the malevolent spirit of a dead person which enters and controls a living body until exorcised.

E

  • echt/ehkt real, true
  • emmes the truth
  • eppes a little, not much, something. syn. a bissel.
  • ess (Yid., עס; German imperative mood for "Eat!") â€“ to eat, especially used in the imperative: Ess! Ess!

F

  • farbissen (far-BISS-en) (Yid., פֿאַרביסן; cf. German verbissen) â€“ adj. Bitter; sullen; crippled by bitterness. Also farbissener.
  • farblondzhet (fer-BLUNJ-it) (Yid., פֿאַרבלאָנדזשעט; far- cf. German ver- and Polish błądzić = "to stray around") â€“ lost, bewildered, confused, mixed-up (appropriately, there are several variant spellings)
  • fardrayt (Yid., פֿאַרדרײט; dray meaning turn, cf. dreidel; also cf. German verdreht = "twisted" ) â€“ confused, mixed-up, distracted
  • farfrumt â€“ negative term for someone very religious or pious. "She came back from seminary and became all farfrumt."
  • farklempt â€“ choked up; speechless; unable to express one's feelings/emotions
  • fachnyok â€“ negative term meaning very religious, often used to connote someone holier-than-thou. Can be shortened to "chenyok," or used as a noun ("don't be such a chenyok") or an adjective ("you're so chnyokish").
  • farkakte (Yid., פֿאַרקאַקטע) â€“ an adjective, meaning 'screwed up' or 'a bad idea'; literally, 'crapped' or 'becrapped', cf. German "verkackte(r)"
  • fershtupt - (pejorative) pregnant, recently had sex, constipated. (stuffed)
  • feh - expression of disgust.
  • feygele or faygeleh â€“ (pejorative) homosexual (literally 'little bird', cf. German "Vögele", also possible cf. German word "Feigling", meaning 'coward'), could be used for anyone slightly effeminate, "Ugh, that, Moishele washes his hands, what a faygel." Often used as a disparaging term for a homosexual male. Note: A Fayge is a bird, and is the basis of the female name Fayga. Such a person, as an infant, might be called Faygeleh (diminutive), until later on being called Faygie.
  • fress â€“ to eat, especially with enthusiasm (German fressen = "to eat like an animal, in an untidy way")
  • frimmer â€“ (British English slang): a Hasidic Jew (from Yiddish "frum", religious; also cf. German "Frommer" = pious person)
  • frum - adjective; religious, specifically in the area of Judaism.

G

  • gantze â€“ all, the whole of ("the gantze mishpoche" = the whole family, etc., cf. German ganz = "whole, all")
  • geh gezindt â€“ command; go, be healthy from German Geh gesund. Used as a goodbye (The typical reply is "Gai gezindt.") Usually neutral, but can be used sarcastically to mean "good riddance."
  • geh avek â€“ go away. Also pronounced "guy avek", depending on where in Europe you are from. A Litvak pronounces it "guy".
  • geh shlufen â€“ go to sleep from German Geh schlafen (Shmiel! It's 11:30! Geh shlufen.")
  • geh vays â€“ literally "go know," as in "go figure." ("Last week she said she hated his guts and now she's engaged to him. Geh vays.")
  • gelt â€“ money (German Geld with the same meaning), also chocolate coins eaten on Hanukkah (געלט gelt 'money')
  • genug (גענוג) â€“ enough (German genug)
  • gezunterheyt (געזונטערהייט) â€“ interjection said after a sneeze, equivalent to "bless you". Literally means "health" from German: Gesundheit.
  • glick â€“ a piece of good luck (German Glück)
  • glitch â€“ a minor malfunction (possibly from Yiddish glitsh)
  • goilem or golem â€“ a man-made humanoid; an android, Frankenstein monster, or an insult, suggesting that a person has no mental capacity
  • gonef or gonif (also ganiv) â€“ thief (גנבֿ ganef. This can be used as a somewhat generic insult, implying a "lowlife" ) â€“ the word has also been adopted from Yiddish into German as Ganove, also a thief (often figurative)
  • gornisht â€“ nothing, not a bit, for naught (German gar nichts = nothing at all)
  • goy â€“ Someone not of the Jewish faith or people; a gentile (גוי, plural גוים Goyim, Hebrew 'nation(s)', often referring to nations other than Israel, although the Tanach calls Israel the "goy koddesh", "the Holy Nation", so Israel is also a 'goy' ["nation" in the sense of "a people", not "a state"] ) "What's John Smith doing in temple, he's a goy!" Both meanings usually have negative connotations.
  • goyisher kop â€“ fool, foolishness (lit. "Gentile head")
  • goyisher mazel â€“ good luck (lit. "Gentile luck")

H

  • hegdesch â€“ pigpen, often used to describe a mess (as in "your room is a hegdesch")
  • hock â€“ Bother, pester (as in the character Maj Hockstetter from Hogan's Heroes; a hockstetter being someone who constantly bothers you) [from Hak mir kayn chaynik or "Stop clanking like a teakettle" from the old time pre-whistle teakettles whose tops clank against the rim as the pressure pushed them up and down.
  • hocker - botherer, pesterer
  • heymish (also Haimish) â€“ home-like, friendly, folksy (German heimisch)

I

  • ibaboodle
  • ich vais â€“ I know. (German Ich weiss)
  • ipish â€“ a bad odor

K

  • kadoches â€“ a fever; frequently occurs in oaths of ill-will (e.g., "I'll give him a kadoches is what I'll give him!)
  • keppe â€“ head (e.g. I needed that like a loch in keppe, hole in my head; German "Kopf", coll. "Kopp" â€“ "head"; German "Loch" â€“ "hole")
  • keyn ayn horeh â€“ (also pronounced: kin ahurrah) â€“ lit., "No evil eye!"; German kein - none; Hebrew ayn - eye, harrah - bad, unclean, forbidden; an apotropaic formula spoken to avert the curse of jealousy after something or someone has been praised; the phrase has mutated into "Don't give me a canary!" in the Bronx
  • kibitz â€“ to offer unwanted advice, e.g. to someone playing cards; to converse idly, gossip; to josh or rib a person (Yiddish קיבעצען kibetsn), German thieves' jargon kiebitschen "to examine, search, look through", influenced by German Kiebitz (any of several birds called peewits [imitative]).
  • kife or kyfe â€“ enjoyment
  • Kitsch : trash, especially gaudy trash (German "Kitsch")
  • klop â€“ a loud bang or wallop (German klopfen = "to knock")
  • klumnik â€“ empty person, a good-for-nothing (From Hebrew "klum," nothing.)
  • klutz â€“ clumsy person (from Yiddish קלאָץ klots 'wooden beam') "Shloimy, you wear your hat like a klutz."
  • kosher â€“ conforming to Jewish dietary laws; (slang) appropriate, legitimate (originally from Hebrew כּשר) see Yashrusdik.
  • krankhayt â€“ a sickness (German Krankheit)
  • kugel â€“ a casserole or pudding, usually made from egg noodles (lochshen) or potatoes
  • kulver
  • kvell (קװעל) â€“ beam / be proud "Shlomo, when you said the prayer so well, I knew I would kvell."
  • kvatch, kvetch â€“ to complain habitually, gripe; or, a person who always complains, sometimes known as whinge (from Yiddish קװעטשן kvetshn and German quetschen 'press, squeeze')

L

  • latke â€“ potato pancake, especially during Hanukkah (from Yiddish, from either Ukrainian or Russian)
  • l'chaim â€“ an expression of joy, the traditional toast "to life!"
  • l'ch'oira â€“ seemingly.
  • Litvak â€“ a Lithuanian Jew
  • lox â€“ smoked salmon (from Yiddish לאַקס laks and German Lachs 'salmon') eaten with bagels.

M

  • macher (מאַכער) â€“ lit. "doer, someone who does things", big shot, important person (e.g. within an organization) (German Macher = maker) "Now that Golde is the president, she acts like such a big macher."
  • madel- Girl, Female woman from Austrian Madel. "Thats a pretty Madel."
  • mameh-loshen â€“ one's first or native language, literally from Hebrew, 'mother-tongue'.
  • mamish â€“ really, very (an expression of emphasis)From the Hebrew "mamash" = substantially, "mamashut" = substance.
  • mamzer â€“ bastard, literally or figuratively (from Hebrew ממזר, meaning the child of a married woman where the biological father is not the married woman's husband (slightly more restrictive than the English word illegitimate)
  • maven â€“ expert (from Yiddish מבֿין meyvn, from Hebrew mevin 'one who understands')
  • mazel (מזל mazl) â€“ luck (literally, constellation of stars)
  • mazel tov! (מזל־טובֿ!‏ mazl tof) â€“ congratulations! (literally, 'good constellation' from Hebrew, meaning, May you be born under a good star, or at a good time. When you tell someone Mazel Tov, it is customary to shake hands.) Literally, good luck.
  • mechaye - a source of pleasure (from the Hebrew חיים "chayim", meaning "life")
  • mechuteynesteh / Mechutan â€“ kinship term for your child's female or male parent-in-law (Yid., from Hebrew מחותן/מחותנת).
  • megillah â€“ a lengthy document or discourse (from Yiddish מגילה megile, from Hebrew 'scroll'). Production: What are you making, a megillah?
  • mensch â€“ an upright man or woman; a gentleman; a decent human being (from Yiddish מענטש mentsh 'person' and German Mensch: human being) the generic term for a virtuous man or person; one with honesty, integrity, loyalty, firmness of purpose â€“ a fundamental sense of decency and respect for other people (from German Mensch, meaning human being)[7]
  • mescite
  • meshuga / meshugge / meshugah / meshuggah (משוגען meşugn) : crazy (from Yiddish meshuge)
  • meshuggener â€“ a crazy person (from Yiddish meshugener)
  • meshugaas â€“ nonsense (lit. "crazy talk")
  • minyan â€“ the quorum of ten adult (i.e., 13 or older) Jews (among the Orthodox, males) who are necessary for the holding of a public worship service
  • mishegoss â€“ insane situation, irrationality (from Yiddish meshugas, from meshuge 'crazy')
  • mishpocha â€“ family (from Hebrew משפּחה mishpokha)
  • mitzve â€“ good deed
  • mohel â€“ a professional religious circumciser (from Hebrew מוהל)

N

  • naches / nachas (נחת) â€“ pride (usage: I have naches from you) (from Hebrew נחת pronounced 'Nachat')
  • narishkeit â€“ foolishness (German "närrisch" â€“ foolish)
  • nasherai â€“ snack food (German naschen â€“ to snack, cf. German "Nascherei")
  • nebbish â€“ a hapless, unfortunate person, much to be pitied; the one who cleans up after the schlemiel's accidents (from Yiddish nebekh)
  • nosh â€“ snack (from Yiddish נאַשן nashn)Also a verb "Nu, stop noshing on that nosh."
  • nu â€“ multipurpose interjection often analogous to "well?" or "so?"; of the same linguistic origin as English now (Russian "ну")
  • nudnik (נודניק) â€“ pest, "pain in the neck", originally from Polish ("nuda" in Polish means "boredom"; nudziarz is the Polish word for the Yiddish nudnik)

O

  • oy â€“ (exclamation) Oh!; Oy Gutt - Oh (my) God!
  • oy gevalt (אױ גװאַלד) â€“ Oh no! (from Yiddish gvald 'emergency'). Cognate with German Gewalt "force, violence".
  • oy vey (אױ װײ) : (exclamation) Oh, woe! (Oh no! â€“ literally, 'Oh, pain!', cf. German "Oh Weh!").
  • oy vey iz mir â€“ (exclamation) from אױ װײ איז מיר 'Oh, woe is me!', 'Oh, my suffering
  • oytzer â€“ sweetheart, dear (from Hebrew Otzar, treasure)

P

  • pisher â€“ a male infant; a little squirt; a nobody , (cf. South German "Pisch´n" = to piss)
  • potch â€“ a light spanking or disciplinary slap, done usually by a parent to a child, and often taking place on the top of the hand or the buttocks (cf. South German word "patschen" meaning slap).
  • plotz â€“ to burst, as from strong emotion: "I was so angry, I thought I'd plotz!" (from Yiddish פּלאַצן platsn 'to crack', cf. German platzen)
  • punkt farkert â€“ just the opposite, total disagreement. Germa: Punkt verkehrt; wrong!
  • punim â€“ the face (Yiddish ponem, from Hebrew)
  • pupik â€“ the navel; belly button (Polish pępek= the navel)
  • putz â€“ unclean penis; stupid 'dirty' person, a jerk (from Yiddish פּאָץ pots)

R

  • rachmones â€“ mercy, pity
  • redd â€“ 'to redd a shidduch' - to recommend a person for marriage.
  • rutzer â€“ very young and inexperienced

S

  • schicker or schickered: drunk, intoxicated (from the Hebrew shikur â€“ drunk, cf. German [coll.] angeschickert 'soused, tipsy')
  • schlemiel â€“ an inept clumsy person; a bungler; a dolt (from Yiddish shlemil or shlimil from the Hebrew "Sh'aino Mo'eil" literally ineffective)
  • schlep â€“ to drag or haul (an object); to make a tedious journey (from Yiddish שלעפּן shlepn and German schleppen)
  • schlepper bum
  • schlimazel / schlamazel : a chronically unlucky person (שלימזל shlimazl, from shlim 'bad' and mazl 'luck'; The difference between a shlemiel and a shlimazl is described through the aphorism, "A shlemiel is somebody who often spills his soup; a shlimazl is the person the soup lands on." One of the ten non-English words that were voted Words hardest to translate in June 2004 by a British translation company.[citation needed] Lyric following "schlemiel" in Laverne and Shirley theme (from Yiddish shlimazl cf. German Schlamassel)
  • schlock â€“ A poorly made product or poorly done work, usually quickly thrown together for the appearance of having been done properly; "this writing is schlock." Something shoddy or inferior. (perhaps from Yiddish shlak 'a stroke')
  • schlong â€“ from Yiddish שלאַנג shlang and German Schlange meaning a snake; description of a tricky or deceitful or hateful despicable person. Vulgar: "penis"
  • schlub â€“ a clumsy, stupid, or unattractive person.
  • schmaltz â€“ excessive sentimentality; chicken fat or drippings used as a shmeer on bread (from Yiddish שמאַלץ shmalts and German Schmalz)
  • schmeer â€“ as a verb, to spread, e.g. the cream cheese on your bagel; also, as a noun, that which you spread on something, e.g. "I'll have a piece of challah with schmeer." (from שמיר) (cf. German schmieren)
  • schmo â€“ a stupid person. (an alteration of schmuck; see below)
  • schmooze â€“ to converse informally, to small talk or chat. Can also be a form of brown-noseing (from Yiddishשמועסן shmuesn â€“ cf. German schmusen).The word is commonly used in the business world to refer to informal networking activities.
  • schmuck â€“ a contemptible or foolish person; a jerk; literally means 'penis' (from Yiddish שמאָק shmok 'penis')
  • schmutz â€“ dirt, often pertaining to petty household dirt(on the table, floor, clothes etc.) Also used metaphorically to the English equivalent; smut, sleaze (from German Schmutz)
  • schnaps â€“ whiskey or liquor
  • schnook â€“ an easily imposed-upon or cheated person, a pitifully meek person. a particularly gullible person. (from Yiddish שנוק)
  • schnor / Tsnorr â€“ to beg.
  • schnorrer (שנאָרער) â€“ beggar or person always asking others for hand-outs or services (cf. German Schnorrer, schnorren)
  • schnoz / schnozzle / shnozzle : a nose, especially a large nose. cf. English nozzle. (also spelled from Yiddish שנויץ shnoits 'snout', cf. German Schnauze 'snout')
  • schrai â€“ a shriek or wail, sometimes used to connote over-exaggerated hysterics. ("When I told her I'd be ten minutes late, she let out such a shrai!") (cf. German Schrei)
  • schtick'l â€“ a little piece of something, usually food. Dim. of stick, from German Stückchen. In "delis," salami ends were sold from a plate on the counter labeled "A nickel a schtickel."
  • schtupp / schtuff : (vulgar) to have sex with, screw (from Yiddish שטופּן shtupn 'push, poke'; similar to 'stuff'); to fill, as in to fill someones pocket with money ("Schtupp him $50.) Frequently used in the former context by Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.
  • schverr â€“ father-in-law (German Schwäher)
  • schvigger â€“ mother-in-law (German Schwieger)
  • schvitz â€“ Sweat (German schwitz)
  • Shabbes goy â€“ a Gentile who performs labour forbidden on the Jewish Sabbath for observant Jews; sometimes used (by implication) for someone who "does the dirty work" for another person (from Yiddish Shabbes, Sabbath + goy, a non-Jew)
  • shammes â€“ the beadle or sexton of a synagogue (from Yiddish shames, an attendant) (originally from Hebrew שמש shamash 'servant')
  • shep naches â€“ take pride. Sometimes shortened to "shep." ("Your son got into medical school? You must be shepping.")
  • sheygetz or shegetz (שגץ، שײגעץ) â€“ (semi-pejorative) Gentile male - male form of Shiksa. (from Hebrew שקץ, vermin)
  • sheyne meydel â€“ a beautiful girl (cf. German schönes Mädel)
  • Shiksa (שיקסע) â€“ (can be pejorative) a Gentile woman (from Hebrew שקץ, vermin)
  • shmatte â€“ an old rag. Used literally: I spilled the coffee, bring me a shmatte, quick! Used figuratively (usu. derisively): That fancy dress she spent half her husband's money on just looked like a shmatte to me. (Cf. Polish szmata "rag, piece of cloth", Ukrainian: шмата shmata "old rag") Used ironically: "I'm in the schmatte business," meaning "I manufacture or sell clothing."
  • shmegege â€“ a stupid person, a truly unlucky one; has been said to be the one who cleans up the soup the shlemiel spilled on the shlimazl.
  • shmendrik â€“ ineffectual person.
  • shpiel : an act; a lengthy, often instructive talk (from Yiddish שפּיל shpil shpil and German Spiel 'play', 'game')
  • shpilkes â€“ nervous energy; to be feeling "antsy", to be "sitting on pins and needles." Cf. Polish szpilka, "pin"
  • shtark, shtarker â€“ strong, brave (German stark), a criminal
  • shtick â€“ comic theme; a defining habit or distinguishing feature (from Yiddish שטיק 'a piece of something' â€“ cf. German Stück, "piece").
  • shtotty â€“ fancy or elegant; may sometimes be pejorative ("She thinks she's so shtotty with that new dress of hers.")
  • shtuch â€“ to put someone down, often facetiously ("I shtuched him out." Can be used as a noun to refer to a clever put-down or rejoinder ("When I told my father that my stupidity must be hereditary, it was such a good shtuch!").
  • shtick dreck â€“ literally "a piece of dirt" (see Dreck), but usually applied to a person who is hated because of the antisocial things he has done: "He's a real shtuck dreck." Possibly shtick dreck: a piece of crap. Cf. German Stück Dreck.
  • shtum â€“ quiet (שטום shtum 'mute') (German stumm)
  • shvartzer â€“ (שװאַרצער) â€“ Black person (possibly derogatory) (from שװאַרץ shvarts 'black', German schwarz)
  • shvitz â€“ A steam bath (German Schwitzen = to sweat). Also used for sweat or some kind of dirt/filth.

T

  • takeh â€“ really, totally. "This is takeh a problem!" As opposed to eppes and emmes. Emmes used as "the truth." He got into med school? Emmes? Eppes is the negative sense. He has cancer? This is the eppes?
  • tchotchke â€“ knick-knack, trinket, miscellaneous curios of no obvious practical use (from Yiddish טשאַטשקע tshatshke and possibly from a Ukrainian word for toy) May be used to refer to pretty women.
  • tchepen â€“ to bother someone incessantly ("Stop tcheppening me!") or to playfully banter with someone ("We spent the entire date tcheppening each other about what bad taste the other one had.")
  • tornig â€“ a disobedient nephew
  • traif (or trayf) â€“ forbidden, non-Kosher foods; anything forbidden (from Exodus 22:30, technically referring to an animal with any of a specific group of physical defects making it inedible)
  • tsimmis, tsimmes â€“ a fuss, a disturbance. "So you lost a dime. Don't make a big tsimmis!" Also, a kind of prune or carrot stew.
  • tsim gezunt â€“ to [your]health! Used as a response to a sneeze; German "gesund" â€“ "healthy")
  • tuchas or tochis â€“ buttocks (from Yiddish תּחת tokhes)
  • tummle â€“ excitement.
  • tummeler â€“ raucous comedian, e.g. Jerry Lewis, Robin Williams, from vaudeville and the Catskills Borscht Belt origin from the English tumult.
  • tsaddik â€“ Pious, righteous person; one of the 36 legendary saints for whose sake God does not destroy the world
  • tsuris â€“ troubles (from Yiddish צרות tsores)
  • tushie â€“ or just tush - polite way of saying tuchus or backside.

U

  • ungershpart â€“ Stubborn

V

  • verklempt â€“ choked with emotion (German verklemmt = emotionally inhibited in a convulsive way); stuck
  • verschimmelt â€“ shook up, rattled, in a state of nerves. "She wasn't hurt in the accident, but she was pretty verschimmelt".
  • vilde chaya â€“ impolite or undisciplined child, literally, wild beast

Y

  • Yekke â€“ A German Jew
  • yenta or yente â€“ a talkative woman; a gossip; a blabbermouth; a scold. A matchmaker - from "Fiddler on the Roof"; as yentl made famous by the Barbra Streisand film
  • yichus â€“ pedigree, family background, an advantage
  • Yiddishe Mama â€“ a stereotypical Jewish mother
  • Yiddisher kop â€“ intelligence (lit. "Jewish head"; German "Jüdischer Kopf" â€“ Jewish head)[8]
  • yiddisher mazel â€“ bad luck (lit. "Jewish luck")
  • yok â€“ a non-Jew (derogatory) - see Goy
  • Yontiff â€“ a Jewish holiday on which work is forbidden, e.g. Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach (from the Hebrew "Yom Tov", Good Day, or Holiday)
  • yungotch â€“ a rascal

Z

  • zach â€“ thing or item. When used with "gantze," can refer to an event or story, i.e. "The ganztze zach only took two hours." The "whole thing" only took two hours(German 'Sache: Thing, issue'; German ganze: whole)
  • zaydeh (or zayde) â€“ grandfather (possibly a Slavonic word, cf. Polish dziadek, meaning "grandfather")
  • zaftig or zoftig â€“ plump, chubby, full-figured (German saftig, meaning juicy), especially with a child or an attractive woman

References

  1. ^ SIL International, Documentation for ISO 639 identifier: yib. Accessed 2009-08-04.
  2. ^ ISO 639-3 Registration Authority, 2006-10-16, Request for Change to ISO 639-3 Language Code. Accessed 2009-08-04.
  3. ^ Leo Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish, Pocket Books/Washington Square Press, 1970 (first edition 1968), ISBN 0-671-72813-X.
  4. ^ Rosten, op. cit., p. 7.
  5. ^ Rosten, op. cit., p. 9.
  6. ^ Rosten, op. cit., p. 14.
  7. ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=mensch
  8. ^ Yiddish Cup: Found!

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