Yiddish Dictionary - Definitions
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A Klog is mir — Woe is me.
Aidel — Finicky.
Alrightnik — One who has succeeded. My father, the dentist, is
an alrightnik. My cousin, the shoe salesman . . .is NOT.
Alter kockers — Who doesn’t know what this means? It means
. . .well, basically Old Jew, but not just any old Jew, an old operator.
My father, for example, is NOT an alter kocker, nor was my Grandfather.
There are no female alter kockers by the way.
Apikoros — From the Greek (kidding, I have no idea, but it does
sound a bit Greek). It means skeptic.
Badchen — Emcee
Balebetishen Yidden- respectable Jews. Are there any other kind?
Baleboosteh — Literally, a good housekeeper. But it’s an
attitude thing. She’s in charge once you pass through the door
and don’t forget it. If you do, she’ll make sure to remind
Balmalocha — An expert. What an expert!! Well, maybe he just THINKS
he’s an expert.
Bissel — A little bit. Not like the “little” piece
of cheesecake you have when you’re on a diet.
Bracha — A blessing.
Bris — Circumcision
Bubeleh — A term of endearment.
Bubkis — Nothing, but less than nothing if possible.
Chachkes — Small stuff and not so small.
Chalaria — It’s not until after I finished “Goys and
Dolls” that I discovered Chalaria means Shrew. I thought it was
just a very nervous person, so in “Goys and Dolls,” that’s
what it is.
Chaloshes — Nauseous
Chupah — Wedding canopy.
Fachadick — Extremely confused.
Fahklumpt — Yet another word for mixed up. Although this one is
more of an emotionally based mixed up-ness. There are lots of these in
Yiddish, which leads me to guess that we Jews are often mixed up, but
yet we’re not . . . just another irony of the Jewish experience.
There are as many words for “confused” in Yiddish as there
are for “snow” in the Eskimo language.
Famisched — Another of the confused series of words.
Farblondzhet — Lost, bewildered, confused. Yet another in the group
of mixed-up words. By the way, not an easy word to rhyme with.
Feh — It stinks! No good. My Dad had a nursery rhyme with the word
feh. Here it is: Tom, Tom the Piper’s son, stole a pig and away
he run . . . ”Feh,” said the Rabbi.
Fress - Eat like a pig
Gedainkst — Remember?
Gelt — Money (gold, get it?)
Geschmak — Tasty
Gevalt geshreeyeh — Good grief! But Charlie Brown has little to
do with this version of Good Grief.
Gloib mir — Believe me.
Goy — Non-Jewish person. Technically, in the Bible, anyone living
outside of Israel, a foreigner.
Grivenes — Onions fried in chicken fat. FRIED IN CHICKENFAT.......OH
Haftorah — A commentary from the Talmud which is traditionally
read by the Bar Mitzvah boy.
Hamisch — Down to earth. A real person.
Hashem — Literally “The name.” It’s how you say
G-d when you’re not praying to him/her.
Hockin me a chinick — Bothering me. Extremely annoying
Kappora — Catastrophe.
Klip — Gabby woman . . . hmmm. I guess that would pretty much be
most of them.
Kop — Head.
Kosher glatt — Very Kosher, even more Kosher than Kosher. It’s
so Kosher, the Kosher has Kosher. Any questions?
Kvell — Extremely proud. Really set aside for parental pride when
a child does something amazing, like Bar Mitzvah, marry a nice Jewish
girl, Bat Mitzvah, marry a nice Jewish boy, become a Rabbi . . .you get
Kvetch — Complain, but much more aggravating.
L’Shem — G-d. (See Hashem)
Lebedikah Velt — Lively world.
Loch in kup — Hole in the head. As in, “I need this like
a hole in the head.”
Mazel Tov — Very good fortune or congratulations!!
Mecheieh — Great pleasure.
Meeskite — Unattractive woman.
Mensch — If you don’t know what this means, please return
the CD and I’ll give you your money back. Of course then you wouldn’t
be much of a mensch.
Meshugass— Insanity, craziness.
Meshugeneh — a crazy person,
technically. But most of the time it's used in a loving way, as in "That
Woodie Allen, what a meshugeneh" or "Mildred, you're husband's
a meshugeneh. He bought you the three carat tiara when he should have
known tiara's are out of style."
Mishpachas — Family.
Mishpocha — In-laws.
Mitzvah — A blessing or commandment.
Moisheh kapoyer — A person who
does everything backward.
Nachas — Extreme
Nishtikeit — Nothing, or possibly less than nothing. For example,
what’s not to like, there’s nothing there? (My mother once
said that to me about a girl I was interested in)
Patschkieing — Fooling
Patshkie around — Waste time. Fool around when you should be doing
something worthwhile, like writing a parody of “Cabaret.”
Plotz — Literally, to burst. But it refers to “don’t
have a hemorrhage” or words to that effect.
Saichel — Common
Sandek — The one who holds the
infant. (See Briss).
Schlecht — Really bad. By the way,
this word will also help you if you have a little build-up of phlegm.
Shabbat — Sabbath
Shadchen — Matchmaker. This is
the correct Yiddish term, not Yenta. A Yenta is just a talkative, gossipy
Shagetz — Non-Jewish boy.
Shaineh — Lovely.
Shande — A shame. Disgraceful.
Shep nachas — Receive joy, pleasure.
Shiksa — Non-Jewish woman.
Shlemiel — Clumsy dope. Klutz. Didn’t you ever see “Laverne
Shlep — Drag, carry or haul, particularly unnecessary things, parcels
or baggage, particularly your wife's parcels or baggage- Jewish men are
trained from an early age to get used to shlepping. By the time we are
married, we just automatically look for things to shlep and places to
shlep to. What a life!!!! And we all hope that one day we'll be able
to afford to hire someone to shlep for us....but even when that day comes,
we often help the shlepper shlep so we shouldn't feel guilty. Are you
following? This word carries a lot of weight in our culture. In fact,
I'm amused thinking that many people who don't like Jews use this word
and don't even realize that they're speaking Yiddish, especially when
they tell their wife that they had to shlep home a couple of dozen bagels....
Shmeckle — Penis
Shmeichel — Butter up.
Shmendrik — A jerk, but so much
Shnook — Please . . . you must
know what a shnook is.
Shpilkes — Worries . . . but much
more. It could give you heartburn without tsibiles. Pins and needles
. . . at least.
Shul — Synagogue, but literally,
Simchas — Joy
Traif — UnKosher stuff, but really bad stuff, like pork, shellfish.
The stuff we all want so badly they actually make Kosher bacon out of
chicken or something. And you could have Monkfish instead of lobster.
Ironic it’s called Monkfish. Why not Rabbifish?
Tsibiles — Fried onions. Imagine eating fried onions like a pig
and you’ll get why we have so much heartburn.
Tsuris — Troubles, but not just
any old troubles. These troubles are BIG troubles. Misery type of troubles.
Tuchis — Behind. As in what you
Ungepatched — All
Vei is mir — Another way to say “woe is me.” I
guess we need more than one.
Vielen dank — From the Danish .
. . OK, kidding again. It means many thanks. And many thanks to you for
buying my CD.
Vooden — What do you expect? Of
course? What else?
Vos vet zein, vet zein! — What
will be, will be! I reversed the second vet zein to zein vet for rhyming
purposes . . . so sue me.
Yiddishe Kup — Literally Jewish head. It means use your common
sense that G-d gave you more of since you’re Jewish and need it
more to survive because all the other people in the world constantly
want to kick you out . . . Oh, you get the picture.
Yutzi — Stupid
Zei Gesund — To
your health. Often said just before a shot of schnapps, which turns out,
of course, to be pretty healthy in moderation. My Grandfather
Sam had his schnapps every day around four and lived to be in his mid