- Education and Science
10 Great Yiddish Words Everyone Should Know
B Shairt - predestined
10 Great Yiddish words everyone should know
Yiddish is a rich amalgamation of Hebrew, German, and other Ashkenazic languages. Once used extensively by immigrant Eastern European Jewish people in the United States, it is slowly disappearing as the older generations pass away. In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the language – and in conjunction the culture – of Yiddish. There are a number of scholars who are working to preserve and even revive the use of Yiddish in daily life. These words and phrases are terrifically expressive and are pronounced just as they’re written.
Dirt or mess
Eg: The kids made cookies and left shmutz all over the kitchen.
Originally meaning “grandmother,” this word is now used in the same way as the word “dear” or “darling.”
Eg: Stevie, bubbelah, come on in for dinner
Eg: That meshuga dog with his barking, oy he’s making me meshugena!
Eg: The amount of paperwork on my desk has me all fermisht.
To beam with pride, to brag a little (or a lot).
Eg: I must kvell – my granddaughter, she got into Harvard!
Juicy, plump, ripe. Can refer to an idea, or a food, but most often used in reference to a curvaceous woman.
Eg: Queen Latifah is a gorgeous zaftig woman
A dress, usually unfashionable and/or sloppy.
Eg: When she comes home from work, Jane throws on a shmatta so she can get comfortable, much to her husband’s chagrin.
A man of good character – respectable and likable.
Eg: I kvell over my son the doctor, he is such a mensch with all of his volunteer work.
Annoying or complaining. Can be a noun or a verb
Eg: My neighbor is such a kvetch – always kvetching about the kids playing in the street.
12. Bupkes (bup-kiss)
Nothing, worthless, useless.
Eg: Those beanie baby dolls we saved are worth bupkes since they don’t have any tags.