Yiddish, Yiddish: Words and Phrases You Need To Know.
So tell me if you've ever been in this situation. You're with a bunch of your Jewish friends enjoying a nice Friday night Shabbat meal. Between stuffing your faces with gefilte fish and Challah bread, you regale each other with witty banter and prayer. Suddenly, you notice something strange. While speaking mostly english, your friends are occasionally using words that you don't understand. What's going on?
It really depends on what type of Jewish community you are with, but for our purposes let's assume your friends are talking in Yiddish. Yiddish is a High German language whose origins can be traced back to at least the 10th century. It is a combination of Hebrew, German, Aramaic, Slavic languages and some romance languages and its primary users are those of the Ashkenazi Jewish community.
Through the work of Jewish comedians, writers, entertainers, etc, Yiddish has entered and spread through the American-English lexicon. Shows such as Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm have popularized certain Yiddish phrases beyond their Ashkenazi roots. Without even realizing it you are probably familiar with words such as cockamamie, putz or shmuck. So some of the following words/phrases should be somewhat familiar to you.
Below I have taken the time to outline some of the most famous and essential Yiddish words and phrases you may need to know.
Boychik -- A Young Boy
Bris -- Circumcision
Broygis -- Not on speaking terms.
Bubbee -- Term of endearment for anyone you like.
Bubeleh -- Term of endearment for anyone you like regardless of age.
Bupkis -- Something totally worthless (Beans)
Chazzer -- Pig
Chutzpeh -- boldness, gall
Cockamamie -- crazy, ludracris
Drek -- dung, excrement
Gelt -- money
Glick -- luck, piece of luck
Goyim -- group of non-Jewish persons
Gut -- Good
Ipish -- bad odor, stink
Kvetch -- a pain in the neck, annoyance (n.), to complain (v.)
Meshugeneh -- crazed female
Meshugener -- crazed male
Nudnik -- obnoxious person
Petseleh -- little penis
Putz -- slang for penis. Jerk
Shikseh -- Non-Jewish girl
Shlecht -- bad
Shlemiel -- a clumsy person
Shlump -- untidy person, sloppy
Shmooz -- chat, talk
Shtik -- routine,
Shvantz -- tail, penis
Toches -- butt, buttocks,
Yenteh -- Gabby, Talkative woman
Zol zein -- Let it be, that's all.
Hello -- Sholem Aleychem
Goodbye -- Sholem, adye
How are you? -- vos hert zich bay aych? Vi geyt es?
Thank You -- a dank aych
Your Welcome -- nishto far vos
Excuse Me -- antshuldikt
What is you name? -- vi eyst ir? vi iz ayer nomen?
Not bad -- Nishkoosheh
Please take some time to see the Yiddish instructional video below. It is both educational and hilarious.
Afterwords, go out there and impress your friends.
Hilariously Awesome Yiddish Instructional Video
- Yiddish Phrases to Know flashcards | Quizlet
Vocabulary words for I'm only putting it into UHS to make it seem like it's being used/ . Includes studying games and tools such as flashcards.
- Yiddish Songs Online
- Yiddish Dictionary Online ייִדיש װערטערבוך אַפֿן װעב
Yiddish Dictionary Online, A searchable Yiddish Dictionary intended for all levels of Yiddish students. Quick way to look up Yiddish words, see their Yiddish-letter spellings, and get brief definitions.
- Yiddish: Basic multilingual phrases
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