As a child, I knew when my parents mentioned the “Kindella”, I knew they were talking about me, and not the app on my Ipad. Yiddish was always the secret language in my house. The language that my parents spoke went they didn’t want the Kindella (me) to know what they saying. Amazingly, enough I seem to know more yiddish than my parents thought.
A good homemaker, a woman who’s in charge of her home and will make sure you remember it.
Or bisl – a little bit.
Or bobe. It means Grandmother, and bobeshi is the more affectionate form. Bubele is a similarly affectionate word, though it isn’t in Yiddish dictionaries.
Not a word for polite company. Bubkes or bobkes may be related to the Polish word for “beans”, but it really means “goat droppings” or “horse droppings.” It’s often used by American Jews for “trivial, worthless, useless, a ridiculously small amount” – less than nothing, so to speak. “After all the work I did, I got bupkes!”
Or khutspe. Nerve, extreme arrogance, brazen presumption. In English,chutzpah often connotes courage or confidence, but among Yiddish speakers, it is not a compliment.
An expression of disgust or disapproval, representative of the sound of spitting.
Or glitsh. Literally “slip,” “skate,” or “nosedive,” which was the origin of the common American usage as “a minor problem or error.”
More polite than bupkes, and also implies a strong sense of nothing; used in phrases such as “gornisht helfn” (beyond help).
A non-Jew, a Gentile. As in Hebrew, one Gentile is a goy, many Gentiles are goyim, the non-Jewish world in general is “the goyim.” Goyish is the adjective form. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich is goyish. Putting mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich on white bread is even more goyish.
In Yiddish, it’s spelled kibets. It can mean verbal joking,. It
Or better yet, klots. Literally means “a block of wood,” so it’s often used for a dense, clumsy or awkward person. See schlemiel.
Something that’s acceptable to Orthodox Jews, especially food. Other Jews may also “eat kosher” on some level but are not required to. Food that Orthodox Jews don’t eat – pork, shellfish, etc. – is called traif.In English, when you hear something that seems suspicious or shady, you might say, “That doesn’t sound kosher.”
In popular English, kvetch means “complain, whine or fret,” but in Yiddish, kvetsh literally means “to press or squeeze,” like a wrong-sized shoe. Reminds you of certain chronic complainers, doesn’t it? But it’s also used on Yiddish web pages for “click” (Click Here).
Pronounced meyven. An expert, often used sarcastically.
15. Mazel Tov
Or mazltof. Literally “good luck,” (well, literally, “good constellation”) but it’s a congratulation for what just happened, not a hopeful wish for what might happen in the future. When someone gets married or has a child or graduates from college, this is what you say to them. It can also be used sarcastically to mean “it’s about time,” as in “It’s about time you finished school and stopped sponging off your parents.”
An honorable, decent person, an authentic person, a person who helps you when you need help. Can be a man, woman or child.
Insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy personor someonewith unacceptable society views.
Or mishpokhe or mishpucha. It means “family,” as in “Relax, you’re mishpocheh. I’ll sell it to you at wholesale.”
Or nash. To nibble; a light snack, but you won’t be light if you don’t stop noshing.
A general word that calls for a reply. It can mean, “So?” “Huh?” “Well?” “What’s up?” or “Hello?”
21. oy vey
Exclamation of dismay, grief, or exasperation. The phrase “oy vey iz mir” means “Oh, woe is me.” “Oy gevalt!” is like oy vey, but expresses fear, shock or amazement. When you realize you’re about to be hit by a car, this expression would be appropriate.
Or plats. Literally, to explode, as in aggravation. “Well, don’t plotz!” is similar to “Don’t have a stroke!” or “Don’t have a cow!” Also used in expressions such as, “Oy, am I tired; I just ran the four-minute mile. I could just plotz.” That is, collapse.
It means “deep peace,” and isn’t that a more meaningful greeting than “Hi, how are you ?” It can also mean goodbye.
To drag, traditionally something you don’t really need; to carry unwillingly. When people “shlep around,” they are dragging themselves, perhaps slouchingly. On vacation, when I’m the one who ends up carrying the heavy suitcase I begged my wife to leave at home, I shlep it.
A clumsy, inept person, similar to a klutz (also a Yiddish word). The kind of person who always spills his soup.
Cheap, shoddy, or inferior, as in, “I don’t know why I bought this schlocky souvenir.”
Someone with constant bad luck. When the shlemiel spills his soup, he probably spills it on the shlimazel. Fans of the TV sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” remember these two words from the Yiddish-American hopscotch chant that opened each show.
A jerk, a stupid person, popularized in The Last Unicorn and Welcome Back Kotter.
Excessively sentimental, gushing, flattering, over-the-top, corny. This word describes some of Hollywood’s most famous films. From shmaltz, which means chicken fat or grease.
Chat, make small talk, converse about nothing in particular. But at Hollywood parties, guests often schmooze with people they want to impress.
Often used as an insulting word for a self-made fool, but you shouldn’t use it in polite company at all, since it refers to male anatomy.
A long, involved sales pitch, as in, “I had to listen to his whole spiel before I found out what he really wanted.” From the German word forplay.
A non-Jewish woman, all too often used derogatorily. It has the connotation of “young and beautiful,” so referring to a man’s Gentile wife or girlfriend as a shiksa implies that his primary attraction was her good looks. She is possibly blonde. A shagetzor sheygets means a non-Jewish boy, and has the connotation of a someone who is unruly, even violent.
Or shmuts. Dirt – a little dirt, not serious grime. If a little boy has shmutz on his face, and he likely will, his mother will quickly wipe it off. It can also mean dirty language. It’s not nice to talk shmutz about shmutz. A current derivation, “schmitzig,” means a “thigamabob” or a “doodad,” but has nothing to do with filth.
Something you’re known for doing, an entertainer’s routine, an actor’s bit, stage business; a gimmick often done to draw attention to yourself.
Or tshatshke. Knick-knack, little toy, collectible or giftware. It also appears in sentences such as, “My brother divorced his wife for some little tchatchke.” You can figure that one out.
Or tsores. Serious troubles, not minor annoyances. Plagues of lice, gnats, flies, locusts, hail, death… now, those were tsuris.
Rear end, bottom, backside, buttocks. In proper Yiddish, it’s spelledtuchis or tuches or tokhis, and was the origin of the American slang wordtush.
Female busybody or gossip. At one time, high-class parents gave this name to their girls (after all, it has the same root as “gentle”), but it gained the Yiddish meaning of “she-devil”. The matchmaker in “Fiddler on the Roof” was named Yente (and she certainly was a yente though maybe not very high-class), so many people mistakenly think that yentemeans matchmaker.
40. yiddisher kop
Smart person. Literally means “Jewish head.” I don’t want to know whatgoyisher kop means.
Literaly “to stuff.” Used as a euphemism for sex. “He stopped shtupping his shiksa after she gain)
41) Gonif – thief
42) Shnorren – to beg or mooch, someone who takes more than they need, wants something for nothing.
43. gonif- thief, someone who over charges.
44 Macher – a “hot shot” or “big wig”
45) Zaftig – buxom or hefty (but in a good way) weight. “Ruebenesque”
46. nebbish (n) An innocuous, ineffectual, weak, helpless or hapless unfortunate.”
47.Farshtunken (stinky, smelly)
48.Shlufen, as in “The kids are shlufen in the back seat.”
49.Pisher (a litle squirt, a nobody)
50.Pupik – bellybutton
51.Purimshpieler -a very amateur entertainer(derogatory)
52.Chalish – expire, pass away
53.Nachas – pride/happiness over particular event or person
54.Nuch besse! – even better! (Sarcastically used)
55.Hak meir ein chainik – literally, bang on a tea kettle, used for “nagging” – “quit hakking me already!”
56.Shlep – long inconvenient journey
57.Keppy or keppelah – head
58.Dray – to drone on and on… draykup- one who rants on and on.
59.Lozzem gemacht – leave ‘em alone
60.Shtimmer bebik – a stupid person
61.Yachne – an annoying gossip or talker, won’t shutup
62.Tatelah or mamelah – show affectionate to a child (male or female respectively).
63.Yoiner – a dense person, a clod (often used ina derogetory way for a fat person, a “fat yoiner”)
64.Shlong – penis
65.Shmekel – penis
66.Shtarker – a big bruiser.
67.Emmis – the truth
68.Neshtuggidacht – It shouldn’t happen to you.
68.Rachmunis – pity, sympathy
69.Nudnik – stupid, annoying but ultimately harmless fellow
70.Kvel – to swell with pride
71.Lukshen – noodles
72.Shander – a public shame or sin – “a shander fur der goyim” a “shame before the gentiles” a disgrace for the whole “jewish” community
73. Bobbemeintze – nonsense, obviously false stories
74. Gezuntheit-after someone sneezes, G-d bless ypu”.
75.Schvitzing – Sweating profusely.
What are your Favorite Yiddish words? Add them to the comment box.
This post was inspired by https://www.dailywritingtips.com/the-yiddish-handbook-40-words-you-should-know/
What is bissel in Yiddish? ›
A Bissel Means a Little Bit in Yiddish.What are three common Yiddish words? ›
- Bubkes. English takes on new words all the time. ...
- Chutzpah. Definition: ...
- Glitch. Definition: ...
- Schmaltz. Definition: ...
- Klutz. Definition: ...
- Megillah. Definition: ...
- Bagel. Definition: ...
- -nik. Definition:
Mishegas. Sometimes spelled meshugas or mishegoss, this Yiddish word is synonymous with insanity, silliness, and craziness. As a parent, you can use this word to refer to your kids' antics, saying something like, "You all need to stop this mishegas!"What is the Yiddish word for silly? ›
Meshuggeneh: An adjective or noun describing someone who is silly, crazy, or a troublemaker. Now, it's used mostly as a term of endearment. Example: I must be meshuggeneh to think that I can make it from LA to San Diego on time for dinner. Mishegas: One of my favorite Yiddish words, personally.How do you say stinky in Yiddish? ›
Farshtunkener = Smelly, malodorous person
Someone can have a stinky attitude or a stinky body—or both!
Overview. In Yiddish, mentsh roughly means "a good person". The word has migrated as a loanword into American English, where a mensch is a particularly good person, similar to a "stand-up guy", a person with the qualities one would hope for in a friend or trusted colleague.What is the Yiddish word for a snack? ›
In Yiddish, “nosh” means “to snack” and “natter” is generally defined as a casual and leisurely conversation.What is the Yiddish word for mom? ›
Mishpacha is family, Ima is mom, Abba is dad, Savta is grandma, and Saba is grandpa.How do you say beautiful girl in Yiddish? ›
Shayna (Yiddish: שיינע; Polish: Szejna) is a feminine name of Yiddish origin, meaning "beautiful" or "lovely", and evocative of the Yiddish phrase "אַ שיינע מיידל" ("a shayne maydel", or "a lovely girl").What is a female mensch called? ›
There isn't one. "Mensch" in German is as neutral as "person" is in English. It would be strange to ask for a female equivalent word to "person". Unless you want to start using invented words like "personess".
What is Shrek in Yiddish? ›
SHREK means "monster" in Yiddish, and is derived from the German word "Schreck," which means "terror" or "fright." But never fear - SHREK is actually a loveable and misunderstood ogre who is currently starring in SHREK THE MUSICAL, one of our best reviewed shows ever!What does bub kiss mean? ›
bupkis (uncountable) (US, slang) Absolutely nothing; nothing of value, significance, or substance.What is a Schmegegge mean? ›
Definitions of schmegegge. (Yiddish) baloney; hot air; nonsense. synonyms: shmegegge. type of: bunk, hokum, meaninglessness, nonsense, nonsensicality. a message that seems to convey no meaning.What is the Yiddish word for worthless stuff? ›
A tchotchke (/ˈtʃɒtʃkə/ CHOTCH-kə, /ˈtʃɒtʃkiː/ CHOTCH-kee) is a small bric-à-brac or miscellaneous item. The word has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City and elsewhere. It is borrowed from Yiddish and is ultimately Slavic in origin.How do you say Girl in Yiddish? ›
Het-Yud spells the word Chai (חי), usually pronounced like the English word “hi” or “high,” which is a word and symbol that means “life.” In fact, a common Jewish toast “L'Chaim!,” which means, “To Life!” is often said at celebrations in anticipation of all the good things to come.How do you say slob in Yiddish? ›
Rather, it's that English “slob” has influenced the meaning of Yiddish zhlob (pronounced with the “o” as in “soft”), so among some speakers in America today, a zhlob and a slob are practically synonymous.How do you say good luck in Yiddish? ›
"Mazel tov" or "mazal tov" (Hebrew/Yiddish: מזל טוב, Hebrew: mazál tov; Yiddish: mázl tov; lit. "good fortune") is a Jewish phrase used to express congratulations for a happy and significant occasion or event.What is the Yiddish word for eat? ›
Esn (eat) Esn means “eat” in Yiddish.What is Yiddish for bless you? ›
[ɡəˈzʊnthajt] Yiddish. Yiddish (and German) equivalent of saying "bless you" when someone sneezes. Also sometimes "tsu gezunt". Lavriut (or Livriut)
What is Yiddish for get well soon? ›
Refuah Shleima for a speedy recovery
The saying “refuah shleima” translates to complete healing/recovery. The phrase is usually said after hearing of someone's illness: “May they be granted a refuah shlemah.” Think of it as a Jewish way of saying “Get well soon.”
Adonai. Jews also call God Adonai, Hebrew for "Lord" (Hebrew: אֲדֹנָי).What is the Yiddish word for butter? ›
The English term "schmaltz" is derived from Yiddish and is cognate with the German term Schmalz, which refers to any rendered fat of animal origin, including lard (more fully Schweineschmalz) and clarified butter (Butterschmalz).What does Putz mean in Yiddish? ›
putz (plural putzes) (slang, derogatory) Fool, idiot.How do you say chicken fat in Yiddish? ›
Since the mid-1930s, the Yiddish word schmaltz has been used this way, although its original meaning is "rendered chicken fat," or "melted fat," first spelled shmalts.What is Grandpa in Yiddish? ›
Zeyde is the historical Yiddish word for grandfather. See also Bubbe (Grandmother). Though it is a term that is perhaps diminishing in popularity with the 2020 election it came into the vernacular as Bernie Sanders become known as Zeyde or Zayde Bernie.How do you say grandma in Yiddish? ›
Pronounced "Bubbeh" or "Bubbee" and "Zaydeh" or "Zaydee". The Yiddish words for grandmother and grandfather.What does Yenta mean in Yiddish? ›
The name has entered Yinglish—i.e., become a Yiddish loanword in Jewish varieties of English—as a word referring to a woman who is a gossip or a busybody. The use of yenta as a word for 'busybody' originated in the age of Yiddish theatre.What is happiness in Yiddish? ›
Simcha (Hebrew: שִׂמְחָה śimḥāʰ; Hebrew pronunciation: [simˈχa], Yiddish pronunciation: [ˈsɪmχə]) is a Hebrew word that means gladness, or joy, and is often used as a given name.What does YOFI mean in Yiddish? ›
Nice, good (used as an interjection, not adjective).
What is a male Yenta called? ›
The correct term for a Jewish matchmaker is shadchanit for a woman, shadchan for a man.What gender is schmuck? ›
A1 · noun · masculine · regular · -s, -e.Is schmuck A Swear? ›
In popular culture. Although schmuck is considered an obscene term in Yiddish, it has become a common American idiom for "jerk" or "idiot". It can be taken as offensive, however, by some Jews, particularly those with strong Yiddish roots.What does a Sheynem dank mean? ›
A sheynem dank. Thank you very much. Biz hundert un tsvantsik. You should live till 120, long life to you.What does Plotz mean in Yiddish? ›
Definition of 'plotz'
to be overcome with emotion; give way to excitement, anger, delight, etc. Word origin. < E Yiddish platsn, lit., to burst, explode < MHG platzen.
In Hebrew Baby Names the meaning of the name Miska is: Gift from God.What does YUTZ mean in Yiddish? ›
Definition of 'yutz'
a person variously regarded as ineffectual, foolish, disagreeable, contemptible, etc. Word origin. < Yiddish.
n. A strong, stout fellow. n. Big shot, an arrogant person.What does azoy mean in Yiddish? ›
Adverb. אַזוי • (azoy) so, thus.What is middle of nowhere in Yiddish? ›
Hotzeplotz is the Yiddish word for “the middle of nowhere.”
What does Schlep mean in Yiddish? ›
In Yiddish, שלעפּ, shlep is usually a transitive verb for carrying (or dragging) something else, while the English word, schlep, is also used as an intransitive verb, for dragging oneself, and as a noun for an insignificant person or hanger-on.What is Nebbish in Yiddish? ›
Nebbish comes from a Yiddish word, nebekh, "poor thing," and it's been used in English slang since the late 19th century. Definitions of nebbish. (Yiddish) a timid unfortunate simpleton. synonyms: nebbech. type of: simple, simpleton.What is a putz in Yiddish? ›
putz (plural putzes) (slang, derogatory) Fool, idiot.What do the Jews call their mother? ›
|English term or phrase:||mother, mom|
|Hebrew translation:||em, ima|
|Entered by:||Thijs van Dorssen|
Moishe Pipik! The derogatory, joking nonsense name that translates literally to. Moses Bellybutton and that probably connoted something slightly different to. every Jewish family on our block—the little guy who wants to be a big shot, the. kid who pisses in his pants, the someone who is a bit ridiculous, a bit funny, a.What is Yiddish for a corrupt person? ›
Some have explained the word mamzer as the masculine noun form derived from the root m-z-r, having a meaning of spoilt/corrupt.What do Jews call their father? ›
The word generally used today for "father" in Hebrew is abba, though ab survives in such archaisms as Abi Mori ("My father, my master") and Kibud av wa-em ("Honor of father and mother").What do Jews call their aunt? ›
Aunt in Hebrew is דודה, and uncle is דוד. It is pronounced doh-dah and dod, respectively.Do Jews name babies after living relatives? ›
The difficulty is that many Ashkenazi Jews are superstitious and believe naming a child after a living relative can bring bad luck. I'm sure this is the source of your mother's feelings. However, there is no Jewish law about how to choose a name for your child. This comes down to tradition and culture!What is belly button in Yiddish? ›
Yiddish adopted "popik" from the Polish, Hebrew in turn adopted it as "pupik" and this is the word used by most Israelis to describe their bellybutton today.
What does Saba mean in Yiddish? ›
Grandpa and grandma, zeidy and bubby, opa and oma — grandparents have many names among Jews. In Hebrew, they are called saba and savta.What does Nash mean in Yiddish? ›
to snack, eat, nosh.