Talk:List of English words of Yiddish origin

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I cannot recognize practically any of these words, and I'm a native English speaker. (talk) 01:43, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Your exact question has been asked many times. Just look at the rest of this discussion page. Then maybe you will find the answer you are looking for. There is no point in answering your question as asked, because "native English speaker" is a very vague and dubious phrase. You need to provide more details. Have you lived in any city with a high number of English-speaking persons of Jewish origin (i.e. New York City?). Maybe then you would have been exposed to more of these words.
It appears that you hail from Australia. What in the world gives you the right to question what words are in the English language, if you have your very own dialect that many other English-speakers cannot even understand? Gorblimey! --Skol fir (talk) 02:49, 23 April 2012 (UTC)


Do all these words need to be linked? Wouldn't that be a job for Wiktionary? Rmhermen 13:11, May 5, 2004 (UTC)

There's already a similar list over at Yiddish language. Merge or move. Grendelkhan 05:13, 2004 May 12 (UTC)

In my opinion there is value in this list as an index on Wikipedia. It should be clearly linked from Yiddish language, and both pages should be monitored to prevent redundancy. After taking a look at Yiddish language, I change my mind. The list there is more comprehensive. Merge and turn to redirect (don't have the time right now to do so myself) --Woggly 14:03, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)


I've removed kibbutz from the list, as this is a Hebrew word. Unlike bris or shlemiel, which can be argued to be Yiddish forms of Hebrew words, kibbutz never meant anything in Yiddish before it became a term in Hebrew, it is not used or pronounced differently in Yiddish. Note that the article on the kibbutz concurs that the etymology is from Hebrew.--Woggly 14:03, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Merge done.[edit]

I've put the results on this page, as there are many Wikipedia List of Englishj words of XXXX origin. I've not tried to change any content, but I can see that a lot of work is requires to bring all the word entry standards up to the best, and probably add more. Clearly there is also a spectrum of words, between mainstream English (even if slightly slang) such as nosh and words which would only be used either in a Yiddish context or by Yiddish speakers speaking English, maybe very rarely. This page therefore need watching by all you experts, to keep a reasonable hurdle to entry. Rich Farmbrough 11:12, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Shabbes comes from Shammes?[edit]

A "Shabbes goy" is a "goy" who does work on "Shabbes"; the etymology could not be any simpler. Why would one insist that the etymology of "Shabbes" in this case was "Shammes" (servant) rather than "Shabbes" (Sabbath)? Also, the work done is not necessarily "menial", which has a pejorative sense. Rather, it is work that cannot be done by an observant Jew on the Sabbath, typically lighting a fire. Jayjg 01:39, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

List of English words or list of Yiddish words?[edit]

This list reads more like Yiddish than English. Honestly, how many words in this list are used in the English language by non-Yiddish speaking people? Some are undeniable English like bagel, kosher, blintz, schmo are used by regular English speakers. However, the rest seems to be simply Yiddish used by Yiddish speakers. I guess the litmus test is whether the words can be found in an English dictionary. In my opinion, this list should be splitted into two articles, namely "List of English words of Yiddish origin" (a small subset of this article) and "List of Yiddish words spelled in English alphabet" (basically this article itself) Kowloonese 09:00, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I was going to disagree, but now that I look closer, I think you are right. For example, when I say schlep (which is pretty often) or shmatte (not so much), I am not interspering Yiddish into my English. They are not English words. Perhaps a better title would be Yiddish words used by speakers of English. Nelson Ricardo 11:52, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)
Please don't rename the article because it is part of a series, namely the Lists of English words of international origin. That series still requires this article to list English words. However, the other Yiddish words, or for this matter, this whole article can be duplicated to what you suggested. Kowloonese 20:28, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Splitted?!? (talk) 00:37, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

First, if I am comparing "macher" to german, it seems to originally mean "doer" or maker". Second, are you sure "Kosher" is from Yiddish, and not hebrew?


how many of these words are actually used in English? And, how many of them are simply from German, not from Yiddish in particular? (e.g. Krankheit, Dreck, ...) dab () 16:10, 8 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I suspect it depends on where you live. English use of Yiddish words in Milwaukee is undoubtedly different from that in New York City. Jayjg | (Talk) 00:44, 9 Jan 2005 (UTC)

English, Yiddish, Hebrew or German?[edit]

I have checked three English dictionaries

I have made ammendments as follows...

  • I've moved litvak and Mohel to Yiddish words and phrases used by English speakers as they do not appear in any of the dictionaries.
  • I've left schlong in the list even though I didn't find it in any of the dictionaries as I knew the meaning without having to look it up (I'm an English speaker unfamiliar with Yiddish)
  • I've changed the spellings of mishmosh -> mishmash, shmeer -> schmear, shnoz -> schnoz, shpiel -> spiel, in line with the English dictionaries.


  • bris and minyan are attributed only to Hebrew, not Yiddish, where they exist in the above dictionaries.
  • kibosh is listed as origin unknown in all three dictionaries.

For the relashionship between Yiddish and German, see Yiddish language - all the words currently listed, excepting the above Hebrew origin words, are all atributed to Yiddish in the dictionaries.

Sonelle 00:51, 4 Feb 2005 (UTC)


I'd appreciate knowing why the choice was made to use "kibitz" and not "kibbitz" as well when further down the page, the use of "meshuga / meshugge / meshugah / meshuggah" to show variant spellings was done. I'm Jewish, and in my entire life, I have *never* seen kibbitz spelled with one "b." Thank you.

I'm not a Yiddish speaker, but I would guess the most likely reason that that spelling was used is that it is the version used by Leo Rosten. (The YIVO transliteration is 'kibits'.) RMoloney (talk) 11:06, 17 November 2005 (UTC)


Proper Yiddish or 'Jiddischetaytsch' is written from right to left using the characters of the Hebrew alphabet. The shapes of the Hebrew alphabet were designed to be read, thus written, from right to left. If you wrote something in Hebrew characters from left to right, it would like you were writing the language backwards because the characters (letters) would be facing the wrong way.

Likewise, if you're writing something from right to left in characters from the Roman alphabet (A, B, C, etc.), it would also look like you were sdrawkcab egaugnal eht gnitirw erew, because the characters (SRETTEL) would be facing the wrong direction.

That is why Romanised Yiddish is written from left to right, while "regular" Yiddish (non-Romanised) is written from right to left. (talk) 03:01, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Why is the Yiddish written left to right? Or does it differ from Hebrew in that regard? — Ilyanep (Talk) 22:24, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

No, it's written right to left, like Hebrew. ?? Gzuckier 20:19, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

kvetch - Quatsch?[edit]

I'm neither a native english speaker nor well-versed in yiddish, but I do speak German. Isn't the reasonable assumption that kvetch comes from 'quatschen' (to gossip) or indeed 'Quatsch' (the noun meaning 'gossip') rather that 'quetschen' (to squeeze)?

That does make some sense; although 'Quatsch' as a noun is generally used to mean 'nonsense' rather than 'gossip' (I speak both English and German fluently). However, I looked kvetch up in the Oxford English Dictionary and it says: "Yiddish kvetsh, ad. G. quetsche crusher, presser." So I would say that most likely it does not stem from 'quatschen' or 'Quatsch.' Crito2161 03:30, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

kvetch - quietschen?[edit]

I grew up hearing yiddish and also speak german. I've always thought that "kvetch" as in to complain was more closely related to "quietschen" as in to squeak. I will look at the Duden "Woerterherkunft" when I have a chance, to see what the roots of quatschen, quetschen, and quietschen are. (talk) 08:25, 17 October 2010 (UTC)


  • Kaput - "broken" or "out of order", or sometimes used to mean "complete" or "finished" (from German kaputt 'broken')
Do we know that it comes from Yiddish origins specifically? Looking it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, I found the following: "ad. G. kaputt, f. Fr. (être) capot (to be) without tricks in the card-game of piquet." No mention of Yiddish (or in the other two dictionaries I looked at), which leaves me to conclude that most likely this is a word coming from the German and French influence rather than Yiddish. Crito2161 03:17, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes. I would have to agree, as with a lot of words on this list. Whether the English version is derived from Yiddish or really from German is highly debatable. I think this should be made clearer. 10:37, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Debatable it may be. Our standard is to go with what dictionaries of English say (unless more reliable sources can be found): if a standard dictionary of English with a good reputation says a word comes from Yiddish rather than German, we list it here. AJD 14:36, 31 May 2007 (UTC)


I gotta say, in all the Yiddish words I've heard nonYiddish speakers use in English, Mechuteynestn has never appeared. Gzuckier 20:18, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

And I gotta say that I have never imagined == macha-tay-nes-te == could be so mangled as to end up as mechuteynestn! (talk) 00:36, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Shlimazel's soup[edit]

In the section on a schlimazel, there's the quote "A shlemiel is somebody who often spills his soup; a shlimazl is the person the soup lands on." I've heard that as "A schlemiel is somebody who spills his soup on a shlimazl," which I personally think is a bit snappier. Minor thing, I know, but change it, perhaps? 02:03, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Finagle links to "Finagle's Law", which is like Murphy's Law. It doesn't have to do with the word finagle. I didn't change it because I'm not sure if we currently have a better option and I can't write something new at the moment.


I've always liked the version that goes, "The schlemiel spills his soup. It lands on the shlimazl. And the nebbish cleans it up." 14:56, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

There is a modern german word called "Schlamassel". This means like a mess. -- (talk) 02:36, 4 November 2008 (UTC)


I think it would be very helpful to to provide common pronunciation for each word. As a New Yorker who knows many (but by no means all of these words), quite a few I looked at I thought I didn't know until I tried to say it and then realized I did, like schmegege. I don't think I've ever seen it spelled out, and unless you're already familiar, how would one ever have a clue about its pronunciation? I would go ahead but I am not conversant with quite a few and also not well versed with pronunciation symbology.--Fuhghettaboutit 03:19, 14 June 2006 (UTC)


This article says glitch is from Yiddish (glitsch), but the Glitch article says it is from German (glitschen, to slip). Mirriam-Webster online says "perhaps from Yiddish glitsh slippery place, from glitshn (zikh) to slide, glide; akin to Old High German glItan to glide." The Online Etymology Dictionary say "possibly from Yiddish glitsh "a slip," from glitshn "to slip," from Ger. glitschen, and related gleiten "to glide." Perhaps directly from Ger." What do we do when there's no definitve answer? DejahThoris 05:34, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Mark it with "possibly". 惑乱 分からん 11:37, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Finagle not Yiddish[edit]

I've taken out finagle which is a dialect English word according to the OED. Definately not Yiddish as I can't even think of a word that sounds remotely like it in Yiddish. --Nomi Jones 01:34, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

"English Words"[edit]

The title of this article is "English words of Yiddish origin". A great many of them can't plausibly be described as English words at all ("a shande far di goyim", for instance). I'm inclined to remove anything on this list that I can't find in a reputable English dictionary. Is there any reason I shouldn't? AJD 13:29, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you in principle; I think a lot of the list is just Yiddish. However, I don't think presence in a typical dictionary would be a good test. Dictionaries have far fewer words than are actually in the English language. I would say, start with with ones that clearly, clearly haven't made it into English and start paring back. I think it has to be case by case. Rlitwin 02:24, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I didn't say a "typical" dictionary but a "reputable" dictionary—but I take your point. On the other hand, we need some objective standard for the sake of verifiability; who are we to say what's "clearly" not English and what isn't? AJD 02:34, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
A literary test could be usage in English language texts, not rendered in italics. Would probably require more than one instance. Rlitwin 02:44, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Okay... how would we find those? Or just preemptively exclude everything we can't find in a dictionary, and then let additions stand only if they come backed up with citations? AJD 04:20, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
It would take a lot of research to find these words in literature. And if the sources were novels by Jewish American authors about the Jewish experience in America, I can see that there could be disagreement. But I have a suggestion though for a dictionary to use: The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Foreign Terms in English. It has the advantage of being a really complete collection of foreign words that have entered into English without having a Yiddish bias the way a collection of Yinglish terms might. Lots of wikipedians would have access to it through their university libraries' subscriptions to Oxford Reference Online. Rlitwin 14:20, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
We don't want "foreign terms in English". We want words of Yiddish origin that have honestly entered the English lexicon. AJD 12:55, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

I just went through and removed (I think) everything that I couldn't find in AHD, Merriam-Webster, or OED without a "non-naturalized" tag. There's still a lot left, not all of which I'd yet regard as authentic English words; but I think those three dictionaries together can constitute a good NPOV standard till something better comes along. There's still some work to do—adding in Yiddish spellings for some words which are still given only in transliteration, e.g.—but I think this is a good start. AJD 02:41, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

It would be worthwhile to have a separate article on "yiddish idioms in american english" or american english expressions with yiddish language origins". --06:12, 18 November 2006 (UTC)Bubbadersh


I've added the "supposed" to Yiddish origin, and noted, that other source may be Polish (maybe it came from Polish via Yiddish?). "sikac" - to piss. "siksa" - young girl, which can get easily excitd (so she can wet her pants). It has similar pattern as other Polish words: "beczec" - to cry. "beksa" - someone who cries a lot, "plakac" -to cry. "plaksa" - someone who cries a lot. Are there many other Yiddish words with "-ksa" ending?

Do you have any citation a supposed Polish origin for shiksa? Shiksa is in fact a Yiddish word. AJD 16:59, 8 September 2006 (UTC)


This list needs to be split into two separate pages: List of English words of Yiddish origin and Yinglish. Currently this list does not follow the expected format of List of English words of X origin. Splitting this list into two separate pages will be immensely more accurate as well as informative.

My recommendation is to copy the entire list over to Yinglish and then parse the current list to include only English dictionary entries.

NoraBG 23:10, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

German cognates[edit]

Why should the etymologies in this list contain all the German cognates? "Cf. German naschen." "Cf. German Macher." Enough already! Is there any reason I shouldn't just go through and remove all of those? AJD 22:30, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

It's useful and adds to the scholarly value of the article. Why on earth would you remove them ? --Simha 11:21, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

It's misleading: in particular, it reinforces the common misconception that Yiddish words "come from" German. Compare, for example, the list of English words of Portuguese origin: you don't see, on every entry on that list, a comparison to the Spanish cognate. AJD 16:20, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Your statement contains a crucial fallacy. In fact, Yiddish is simply a variety of German (in the usual linguistic, not political sense). Nothing more, nothing less. Citing Spanish cognates with Portuguese ones (though interesting) is not comparable. It's more like marking 'standard Portuguese' when the source is from a variety of Portuguese (e.g. a sociolect, dialect aut sim.). Again, in terms of linguistic taxonomy, Yiddish is (a variety of) German. While Yiddish had a good deal of specific development, it was never discreet from other German varieties (local or the standard). Of course, the overwhelming majority of Yiddish words don't stem from Modern Standard German. They are, however, of German origin. A disclaimer, if you wish for it, should make that amply clear. It's good scholarly practice to cite standard forms along variants. Presenting Yiddish as being entirely distinct from German simply contravenes the facts. Hence, there is no reason to let some sort of (politically/ideologically motivated?) schizophrenia adulterate a scholarly sound procedure. The items in the article, I'll admit, are mostly of certain Yiddish origin. Note, however, that some of the alleged Yiddish words in English might just as well have entered English via different German channels. Giving the standard (or other variety of) German equivalent helps the reader form his/her own opinion about the origin of the respective word. That method seems preferable to pre-judging things where no definite answer is possible. Lastly, I'd like to know, why you worry about German cognates but not e.g. about Ukrainian/ Russian ones ? Shalom, chaver. --Simha 11:54, 20 November 2006 (UTC)--Simha 11:54, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Well, I mean—no, you're wrong. Yiddish isn't simply "a variety of German". To the extent that there is a "usual linguistic sense", they are certainly different languages: they have different formal standards and different literatures; people who speak Yiddish do not regard themselves as speaking the same language as people who speak German; looking up the technical term for an obscure word in a German encyclopedia will not tell you what the correct word is in Yiddish; it's even got a different alphabet. There's no hard-and-fast criterion for when one speech variety is "a variety of" another language and when it's a separate language, but the foregoing are all pretty reliable guidelines.
Anyhow, we're not in the business of letting the reader "form his/her own opinion about the origin of the respective word"; this is an encyclopedia, and we're reporting the results of others' research. If a reputable source says a word is from Yiddish, it can go in the list; if two different reputable sources disagree, one saying it's from Yiddish and one saying it's from German, we should mention that too. AJD 03:46, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

The relationship of Yiddish with modern German (both modern languages, widely considered to be dialects *of one another*) can lead to contentious discussions but they are both considered to belong to what we now call the Germanic language family. I think we should be careful not to conflate “Germanic” with (modern) “German.” Yiddish is a Germanic language, as are English, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic. Currently people do not go around talking about a “Yiddistic” language group (or at least I am not aware of such people) interchangeably with Germanic. Yiddish is not recognized as an official language of state in any country, not even in Israel, but if it were, and if sufficiently large communities went on speaking exclusively Yiddish, raising their children in this language at the exclusion (not meant in a pejorative sense) of Hebrew, German, Polish, Russian, Italian, Spanish, etc. then Yiddish would start to look more like a full-fledged language ‘with an army and a navy.” But since this is not the case, Yiddish is often, problematically, talked about as a variety within ‘German,’ even though dialect differences are in many cases greater within a single ‘language’ (e.g., Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, or Kurmanji and Sorani Chinese) than between multiple languages (e.g., Turkic languages). In any case the Portuguese / Spanish analogy is interesting (Ladino comes to mind), but I think a better one might be with Welsh, Scottish, Irish variants on English, or with Hawai‘ian Creole English. There are many dialectical words in these cases which are not found elsewhere, with many loanwords coming from non-Germanic sources (Celtic; Polynesian, East Asian and Southeast Asian sources), but these influences have not stopped Welsh, Scottish, Irish, or Hawai‘ian Creole English from being dialects *of English*. On the other hand, there are probably *English-only* expressions within Hawai‘ian Creole English that are a result of relatively recent developments, which may have been transmitted into other Polynesian languages such as Sāmoan. Metonyme (talk) 04:55, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Splitting up list[edit]

The list is getting kind of unwieldy. It is currently about 4-5 screenfuls (fulls?). I'm tempted to toss in some alphabetic sub-headings for navigational ease. "A-F" "G-M" "N-R" "S-Z" leap to mind as convenient. That puts the "Ge-" and "Sch-" words at the beginning of various sections. Questions, comments? samwaltz 23:46, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I think it's still manageable. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 10:02, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't; and it's particularly bad for redirects. eg. I came from zaftig and had to scroll all around just to find the one sentence I was actually looking for.
And while I'm at it, why aren't all the words linked to their Wiktionary pages? Zaftig has an entry at yet there is no link to Wiktionary's better entry. --Gwern (contribs) 14:45 26 December 2009 (GMT)

Tohu wa-bohu[edit]

Has anyone ever heard the phrase "tohu wa-bohu" ("welter and waste", as translated by Robert Alter) used before in English? Or spoken in any other language, except in reference to Genesis 1:2? Admiller 02:45, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Not I, and then only as "tohu vavohu"... Tomertalk 00:42, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
It is used in german as a colloquial term for "disorder" or "mess". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:55, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
also in French Gzuckier (talk) 04:19, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
  • “…the tohu-bohu of inquiries, which have never yet emerged from the stage of chaos.” -William Gladstone. [1]
  • "made a tohu-bohu and would not put it to the ground" [2]
  • "TOHU BOHU: considerations on the nature of noise, in 78 fragments", Hinant, Guy-Marc, Leonardo Music Journal 2003, MIT Press Journals ISSN: 0961-1215
  • "If the antithetical responses of Aron and Sartre to the May revolt could be lodged under the heading of ‘reactions to events at the time’, (though Audier forgets to do so), subsequent attitudes to 1968 are dished together in a sloppy tohu-bohu lacking all sense of order or history" [3]
  • "Was ever such a tohubohu of people as there assembles? - Thackeray" Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 [4]
  • "Our problem is tohubohu. Our industry is drowning in it. But somehow, even with all the confusion and disorder, we manage to develop systems." Jerrold Grochow; Take a Little Tohubohu Off the Top; Software Magazine (Englewood, Colorado); Nov 1995. [5]
  • Note that tohobohu is not derived from Yiddish, but rather a shortening of tohu-wa-bohu which is transliteration of the Hebrew phrase in Genesis 1:2. [6] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Seeker68 (talkcontribs) 06:19, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
not to be confused with the practice of crying into one's bean curd. Gzuckier (talk) 04:15, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


If you decide to mention deeper and older etymology beyond the Yiddish variants of every word listed, you should add that the diminuitive form -chik is in fact derived from the (same) Russian diminuitive form. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18:11 UTC, January 6, 2007[7]

And that "Oy!" is a common Slavic exclamation. Tomertalk 19:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
That's fair. I wonder why has nobody fixed this so far. Boychik is an american-russian word with absolutely no relation to Yiddish. Probably it's place of origin is some Soviet-immigrant living areas, that's why the author has made a mistake. -- 23:14, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Totally agree. This is an american-russian neologism. In fact, I think it's a play on words from Russian: мальчик [mal'chik] meaning "little boy"; the first syllable is replaced with "boy" to make the word sound americanized. I removed "boychik" from the list. --Zealander 17:37, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Boychik was on the list because the American Heritage Dictionary says it's from Yiddish. The fact that it entered Yiddish from Russian isn't relevant; it still (also) comes from Yiddish when considered as an English word. I'm going to restore it to the list. You can't just say "it has no relation to Yiddish" and contradict the AHD; you need to provide a more reliable source that says it's not Yiddish. AJD 14:06, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Although I would disagree with AHD (with 170,000 Yiddish speakers and over 700,000 Russian speakers in USA, which group would have more influence on English language?), you may have a point. If the word is used in Yiddish, it belongs in the list even it's of different origin. Fine. However, I would like to see the origin being mentioned. AHD sez: "Eastern Yiddish -chik, diminutive suffix (from Slavic)." "Eastern" and "Slavic" were left out in this case, making the word 100% Yiddish and Russian diminutive suffix -ik/chk/shk/chik of Yiddish origin. (Are there any other Yiddish words that end with chik I wonder... :)) I modified the entry, I hope you won't mind. --Zealander 20:15, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Additional words in german with unknown origin[edit]

I found several words that are in everyday-use in german, but I don't know if they have german or hebrew origin.

kvetch - sounds not only alike to quetschen (to squeeze), but also to Quatsch, which means Nonsense. (Though it doesn't really sound like of german origin.)

nu - Is very often heard meaning "nun?" (now?), as a short form of "Und nun?" (and now?).

oy vey - Is most likely the same as the german "Oh weh!", wich also means "oh woe".

potch - and espachially the yiddish "patshn" is also in everyday use in german as "patschen", with the same meaning. (Wich sounds very much alike to both "klatschen" und "platschen", that have similar meanings and do sound very likely of german origin.)

shtetl - is most certainly a form of the german "Städtel", wich is the deminutive form of "Stadt", which means city, which sounds very alike to the yiddish "shtot".

tummler - can maybe better discribed as a form of the german "Tümmler" (someone who's jumping and roling around).

  • This may be only folk etymology, but I have been told that "tummler" is a direct derivation from the English word "tumult." The "tummler" is the opening act, who rouses up the crowd and creates an enthusiastic commotion, a tumult. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:11, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Also "Yekke" could maybe be found in modern german as "Jecke", which is a costumed person at the german carnival. It sounds almost identical, but I don't know why and how it came to such a use. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:06, 16 January 2007 (UTC).

The common element would seem to be "jacket". I had always heard that the term, at least in Israel, referred to Jews with a formal Germanic cultural background who would insist on wearing dinner jackets even in the most extreme heat of the Middle East. More jovial than derogatory. Hertz1888 14:26, 28 June 2007 (UTC)


I have added the word shemozzle which is Yiddish in origin according to the O.E.D. I have also made reference to the word's unique usage in Ireland. Could anyone provide the word as it is written in Yiddish? Furthermore, my copy of the O.E.D. is quite old- has a more up to date definition been given in the current edition? --Hotd1 14:05, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Recent edits by Ajd[edit]

Could someone check the edit log? I think some of the edits that User Ajd made were rather severe, and not always right. For example, s/he removed the reference to "males" being necessary for a minyan, whereas the linked page clearly states that it it males, and not just adults who are required. There are a few others, such as Yiddish "Shmuck" being related to the German word "Schmuck" (jewels), where the borrowing took place along the same lines of the development of the term "family jewels" in English. samwaltz 08:20, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

What the minyan article actually says is that "Women are counted as part of the minyan in Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist synagogues and at most non-Orthodox prayer gatherings." Excluding women from minyans may now be a minority practice in the English-speaking world; and at any rate the definition of minyan in English is certainly not restricted to men.
Although it is popularly believed that schmuck is related to German Schmuck, that doesn't actually make it true. Schmuck comes from Yiddish shmok 'penis', which has no connection to the German word for 'jewel' (if it did, it would be shmuk in Yiddish, not shmok). The AHD entry for schmuck traces it ("probably") to Polish.
That's as may be, but the current explanation in parentheses after the definition of "schmuck" sounds to me like it conflates the Yiddish word "Schmock", which was taken up into German from the Yiddish, with the definition of the German word "Schmuck", which means, "decorations", or "jewels", and as a verb, "schmucken", means, "to decorate", "to bejewel." I think the reference to the German word "Schmock" is not needed in this definition, since it does not describe an origin. Best regardsTheBaron0530 (talk) 16:04, 8 March 2017 (UTC)theBaron0530
The article says that all the words and etymologies listed in it are vouched for by OED, AHD, or MW, unless otherwise noted. What I did was remove all of the additions that weren't supported by any of those three dictionaries and had no sources cited. AJD 13:50, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


Police officers in America refer to a person in administration that helps their career as their "rabbi". Where would a word use like that fit in? 15:05, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't know, but not here. "Rabbi" isn't from Yiddish. AJD 20:54, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Why can't you include links to the OED?[edit]

There is an online version that can be linked to. Many people can access with university sources. This article is no different than any other. If you can't show a source that can be checked by other people, then words shouldn't be in here until you can. pschemp | talk 00:17, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

It is a source that can be checked by anyone. But it's not a source that can be checked online by anyone. I don't think it makes sense to use links to a password-protected source. AJD 03:09, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
It would be helpful if you could at least specify the edition of the OED you are using, esp. year of publication and ISBN. Thanks. Samsara (talk  contribs) 07:35, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I can't provide links to the online OED because I access the OED through my university. So all I would be able to give would be a bunch of URLs in the domain "", which is only useful to people who have University of Pennsylvania login accounts. AJD 19:53, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Yet you still could at least say what edition you are using. pschemp | talk 23:08, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
As the article says, the current online edition. AJD 23:42, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

German again[edit]

Also, see my comments above on German—I don't really think we should be listing German cognates at all; it just encourages the misconception. AJD 19:55, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh, for crying out loud—do you want to go through and add the MHG etyma for all the words on the list? Should we go into List of English words of Spanish origin and give the Vulgar Latin etymology of everything on that list? AJD 20:00, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

So I ask again: is there any reason for me not to go through and remove all the "cf. German"? AJD 16:42, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I certainly don't see any such reason. This is an English article about that language's borrowing of Yiddish vocabulary. The corresponding relationship between Yiddish and Modern High German might be appropriate to the German Wikipedia but I don't see how it is relevant to the present context. If the consensus is for keeping the MHG cognates, nonetheless, it might be a good idea for someone to differentiate between those that contributed to the Yiddish vocabulary and those that were derived from it. --Futhark|Talk 18:02, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I've attempted to remove all citations of German words that are themselves borrowed from (rather than cognates of) Yiddish, since they obscure the point. AJD 21:04, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
The introduction clearly states - and this is supported by scholarly works - that where German cognates exist, it is not usually possible to determine beyond reasonable doubt whether a given word was introduced into English usage from German, Yiddish, or both. I would therefore propose that either German cognates be listed, or all entries that have German cognates removed. Samsara (talk  contribs) 18:20, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
So if a Yiddish word makes its way into both German and English, it no longer counts as an English word of Yiddish origin? --Futhark|Talk 18:48, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Being argumentative isn't going to move anything. Samsara (talk  contribs) 23:00, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, what the introduction states is that it is "in a few cases" not possible to determine whether a word entered English from German, Yiddish, or both. Those few cases are marked in the article, for example:
  • Schmaltz: (from Yiddish שמאַלץ or German Schmalz)
These appear when the dictionaries that are the sources for this article disagree on whether the word entered English from German or Yiddish, or when the dictionaries disagree with each other. But in the vast majority of cases, there is little doubt of whether the etymology was through German or Yiddish. AJD 21:04, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Okay, so let me propose the following scenario, since most of these terms seem to be far more abundant in American English than they are in British English: German-speaking settlers; Yiddish-speaking settlers; both speak their own language plus English; they share a set of cognates in their own language; word enters colloquial English usage. Clearly, both Yiddish and German speakers will use words that they've heard used and that are familiar from their own background, regardless of whether the speaker is originally German- or Yiddish-speaking. It's therefore nigh impossible to say that either language background is the definitive source. This is clearly stated by the current the introduction to the article: "Since Yiddish is closely related to modern German, many native Yiddish words have close German cognates; in a few cases it is difficult to tell whether English borrowed a particular word from Yiddish or from German." It is also the opinion of scholars such as Steinmetz, paraphrased here saying "Steinmetz opines that these could have come, at least in part, from gentile Germans using Yiddish colloquialisms.He points out the all these terms were known to Germa schoolmasters in Baltimore in the late nineteenth century. In addition, he correctly points out that Yiddishims are part of the colloquial stock of both German and Dutch."
Note carefully that I am neither saying that all Yiddish words come from German, nor am I denying that some Yiddish words from other language backgrounds, including Hebrew, have entered German usage. However, some etymologies remain unresolved, and may forever remain unresolved. The point of an encyclopedia is to describe things as they are. Hence NPOV and NOR. Samsara (talk  contribs) 23:00, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
NPOV and NOR indeed. I'm trying my hardest to include only words that are verified as being coming from Yiddish by reliable dictionaries. (That's why I cut out "mohel". I'm confident that it entered English from Yiddish rather than from Hebrew, but the dictionaries I cite disagreed.) It seems to me that saying a word may be from German when the sources we're using all attribute to Yiddish is just as much POV and OR as would be the opposite, saying a word is definitively from Yiddish when reliable sources disagree. Note also that your Steinmetz paraphrase doesn't indicate that these words may have come from German instead of Yiddish; rather, it indicates that they may have come from Yiddish via German. In which case, if it's agreed that the word comes from Yiddish but disputed as to whether it came via German, it's still correct to say merely that it's "from Yiddish". Don't introduce dispute where none exists. AJD 23:59, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
You missed the second sentence, in which it's stated that the same vocabulary would have been shared by German schoolmasters in Baltimore. There is no dispute. There is ambiguity that needs to be honestly stated. You have made several attempts to remove all reference to the possibility that German could be the origin when it is plainly plausible that for many of the listed words, it could be so. All of your attempts so far have been opposed and/or reverted by other editors. Just because you keep trying does not mean that you will be able to overcome the consensus against such a deletion. Samsara (talk  contribs) 00:50, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
The second sentence seems to me to state that the German schoolmasters would have had that vocabulary as loans from Yiddish. Steinmetz's point as stated in that excerpt is that non-Jewish German speakers were familiar with Yiddish words and can have been the avenue by which Yiddish words entered English, not that the words themselves were not of Yiddish origin. There is no indication whatever in the Ornstein-Galicia article you link to that Steinmetz believes that the words spread by the German speakers were of German, not Yiddish, origin. In fact, all the words actually listed in by Ornstein-Galicia as words of which Steinmetz would hold that opinion are of Hebrew origin, and thus could not possibly have been of German origin. The Ornstein-Galicia article, and the Steinmetz book it cites, are all about the ways Yiddish words entered English, not about the possibility that they may not have come from Yiddish after all.
In short, you say that it is "plainly plausible" that many of the listed words could be of German origin, but that claim is itself original research. All the words on the list (except where noted) have citations to the effect that they are, in fact, from Yiddish. If you provide a reliable citation for any particular word that says some scholars argue that it isn't from Yiddish, by all means do so. But just looking at them and saying, "Well, there's a possibility that German could be the origin," without providing any reference to that effect—that's not, you should excuse the expression, kosher. AJD 02:36, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Also, Samsara: the {{fact}} weren't for the definitions of German schnorren and Jeck; they were for the implication that they are cognates of the Yiddish words. I wouldn't be surprised if German schnorren is in fact borrowed from Yiddish, and Jeck could easily be a coincidental similarity, like Schmuck. I removed the MHG etymology of Yiddish merely because MHG etymologies are far from relevant to this article. AJD 21:14, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Then you should have said so. Note that your claims of incidental similarity are unsupported. Samsara (talk  contribs) 23:00, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not making claims of incidental similarity; I'm saying that the claim of non-incidental similarity (in the case of Jeck) isn't supported. Well, I am making a claim of incidental similarity in the case of schmuck; that's supported by the AHD etymology of schmuck to Polish szmok (as well as the form of the Yiddish word itself, which is different from German Schmuck). AJD 23:59, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I have to say AJD, that your statement that it is only in a few cases that the origin can't be determined is not backed up with any source, and in fact the source Samsara cites contradicts that. Schmo is one that I know that some dictionaries list as "origin unclear" yet you don't have that noted. Just quoting the OED isn't enough when you are trying to make generalizations. It's pretty clear that there is no way to tell where these words entered in a lot of cases. If the scholars can't say for sure, why should we be taking your word for it? pschemp | talk 23:07, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Why is it "pretty clear" that there's no way to tell where these words entered, when dictionaries agree on where they entered? In the case that authoritative sources like dictionaries don't agree, by all means list that in the article; modify the entry for schmo to say "possibly from schmuck" instead of "from schmuck" if I missed a citation that doesn't agree with the one I cited. But don't make the blanket claim that in general we can't tell whether or not they're from Yiddish when in most cases the sources that we consider reliable don't appear to have any disagreement or uncertainty. AJD 23:59, 17 April 2007 (UTC) has schmo as "Americanism, obscure origin": The problem here is that dictionaries are reference works, and not necessarily scholarly works. Are you sure that you understand the difference? Samsara (talk  contribs) 00:29, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not at all opposed to finding better references than AHD, OED, and MW for the etymologies of these words. I just chose them because they're three highly-regarded and conveniently accessible (to me) dictionaries of English with pretty detailed etymologies. If you can find more reliable or more scholarly sources for the etymology of any of these words, by all means bring in the information. But your own opinion that a word might not be from Yiddish is not more reliable than AHD's, OED's, or MW's opinion that it is. AJD 02:36, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
That's not just an opinion. On Schmo, the sources conflict, and that's not the only one. The burden of proof is upon you to show that these words did come from Yiddish. That's why we have policies about sourcing. pschemp | talk 11:49, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
On schmo, the sources conflict! Great! Put that in the article and cite the conflicting sources! The burden of proof is not upon me to show that they came from Yiddish; the burden of proof is on me to show that credible sources say they came from Yiddish. I have done this in every case. If you have specific citations of other credible sources saying that they don't, or might not, come from Yiddish, by all means employ them! What I'm objecting to is the seeming attitude that we must, in the general case, treat a word that looks like it might be from German as if we don't know if it's from German or Yiddish. We should treat each word independently, based on what the best sources we can find that comment on that word have to say. (What's the reputation of for reliability, especially in the etymology department?) And I still don't think we need to be listing German cognates, except when a reliable source actually says the word might come from German instead, in an article about Yiddish. AJD 14:57, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Is anyone able to provide warrant for regarding schmo as a Yiddish word, in the first place? It isn't included in any of the Yiddish lexicographic authorities with which I am familiar, and even Rosten explicitly states that it is not a Yiddish word. In a parallel vein, German etymological dictionaries ought to provide relevant information about the path that some of the questioned terms may have taken through that language into the English vocabulary. Have any such sources been consulted in the crafting of the list in this article? (I'm just asking — not being argumentative.) --Futhark|Talk 16:25, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Schmo isn't a Yiddish word. However, it may still be an English word of Yiddish origin: OED and AHD both describe it as an alteration of schmuck, and since schmuck is of Yiddish origin then that would mean that schmo is ultimately of Yiddish origin. However, not all sources agree that schmo is derived from schmuck. ...Anyhow, I don't quite see why a German etymological dictionary would be expected to shed light on from what source words entered English. AJD 17:11, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
A German etymological dictionary will indicate Yiddish vocabulary borrowed into that language. Any such word that also appears as a borrowed term in English can be treated as being of Yiddish origin, regardless of the vectorization of its entry into the English lexicon. I realize that this hardly matters if this article is to be maintained as a list of words somehow inspired by what may or may not actually be Yiddish. --Futhark|Talk 17:50, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I see what you mean! Yes, if a word in German turns out to be of Yiddish origin, than certainly that word can be treated as being of Yiddish origin in English as well. But absence of mention of Yiddish in the etymology of a particular word in German can't be taken as indicating that a similar word isn't of Yiddish origin in English. ...I'm not sure how to take your snarky-seeming remark about "somehow inspired by what may or may not". AJD 18:31, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I think German cognates are interesting and they make it clear whether a Yiddish word is ultimately of High German, Slavic or Hebrew origin. I also agree that Yiddish words borrowed into German obscures the point, thus those German words should be removed from the list. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 14:12, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Yiddish שטעטל shtetl 'town', diminutive of שטאָט shtot 'city'; cf. German Städtl, South German colloquial diminutive of Stadt, city

How is it relevant to the list that in South German Städtl is diminutive of Stadt? Shtetl is a Yiddish word, it did not come to English from Southern German Städtl, so what's the point of this cf - simply to imply that Yiddish is not an independent language and all its vocabulary is ultimately borrowed from German, Hebrew or Polish? If there are all these cf's in the list, why only German? You could add Flemish, Africaans, Luxemburgian, Pennsylvania Dutch after all? It isn't known from what old German dialects the Yiddish vocabulary is exactly stemming from, so why adding modern German cognates? Are you ready to do the same for English-language words that entered Russian or German usage? Would you add to each entry that it's actually a German and not English a word? I doubt...--SimulacrumDP 18:59, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

We could possibly remove Städtl, it seems like a parallel evolution to Yiddish. (Stadt with a diminutive l-ending.) Yiddish doesn't seem to have borrowed vocabulary from German, rather it's an independent evolution out from the same Middle High German dialect continuum that also produced Standard High German. I think some further remark about a words history than just "Yiddish" would be interesting, (Since Yiddish words are of many different origins.) and German was the easiest choice. It seems several people disagree with me, though, if people would prefer it, the modern German equivalents could possibly be replaced with Middle High German examples, which would be a better example of a "true" source or origin. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 23:12, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Where's the problem?? Yiddish is a mixture of medieval High German and Hebrew, so of course there are similarities. Since the article doesn't claim to list Hebrew or German origin, the lead should reference the origin of yiddish to avoid this slightly misleading lead section: is a Germanic language spoken by Jews from eastern Europe. It is written in the Hebrew alphabet, and its vocabulary contains words from German, Russian, Hebrew, Polish, and English, among others. The name itself comes from the German word jüdisch, which means “Jewish.” Ladino is a Romance language with Hebrew borrowings that the Sephardic Jews use, especially in the Balkans. It’s sometimes called Judeo-Spanish, but it has not had the impact in the United States that Yiddish has had. Couldn't we just quote that?--FlammingoHey 13:53, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

The "Germanic language spoken by the Jews of Eastern Europe of the Middle Ages" did not contain "words from ... Russian, Polish and English" — and it was not called Yiddish. --Futhark|Talk 14:42, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Nu? Then what did it contain & what was it called? Tell us more. Hertz1888 15:06, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
The first paragraph of the article on the Yiddish language describes the appellations applied to the language during the Middle Ages. The influx of English into the vocabulary didn't begin until the speech community had established itself in Anglophone countries, well after the Middle Ages. Although less easily dated, the divergence of Polish and Russian from the parent older Slavonic is normally regarded as a later occurrence, as well. --Futhark|Talk 15:51, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
These are things I never knew. Thank you for such a detailed and scholarly response. Hertz1888 17:48, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


Gevalt and Oy Gevalt both redirect here but are not defined in it.

I think they were removed, because they weren't found in any major English dictionary. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 12:10, 6 August 2007 (UTC)


How is this Yiddish? Isnt it actually a German word used in Yiddish? And hence not a Yiddish word used In Enlgish but a German word used in English?? Forgive me if I am a bit confused (I am a bit confused lmao). Also, how many of these words do most Anglo-Saxons use? Maybe English speaking Yids but then how far would one go with this? I cant say I would use any of these words except maybe when I buy a bagel. But then it IS a bagel! I mean I use Japanese words all the time then when I buy sushi! seriously! lmao! Really I have to say half this list is a load of bs121.44.50.243 10:27, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Yiddish and German both have mensch natively, inherited from their common ancestor. Our dictionary sources tell us that English got it from Yiddish, not from German. We also use English dictionaries to tell us when one of these can be considered to be an English word or not. AJD 14:38, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
This is a weird discussion here. "Yiddish and German both have mensch natively, inherited from their common ancestor." And the <common ancestor> is Middle High German. Oy vey! --DaQuirin 02:11, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Middle High German is (as it's name says) German — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

German again again[edit]

Flammingo, I think you're misunderstanding my edit. Basically, when we say German language what we usually mean (and what people will think we mean) is "modern German", not medieval Middle High German. For that reason, it's misleading to say that Yiddish words come "from German". There are a few Yiddish words that come from (modern) German, including oysgabe 'edition' and frage 'question', but nearly all of the Germanic vocabulary of Yiddish comes from Middle High German, not modern German. So it is misleading to say, on a list of words borrowed into English from German, that "some of the words are of German origin, but have entered English through their Yiddish forms." Although many of them are of MHG origin, saying that they're "of German origin" will make people think that they come from the language now called German. But they don't.

So, we say that certain Yiddish words are of Hebrew or Slavic origin and entered English through their Yiddish forms—what this means is that they entered Yiddish from Hebrew or Slavic languages, and then entered English from there. But the Germanic words didn't do that: they were already in Yiddish. AJD 20:52, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

old german, middle german and modern german all are german (plus there are all those dialects, and most of the dialects spoken today originate from earlier variaeties of german and are not variant of modern german) (talk) 17:17, 16 April 2013 (UTC)


I really don't think the Scrabble dictionary together with a website called "Hebrew4Christians" constitutes a reliable source for something being an English word of Yiddish origin. AJD 02:04, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I thought that there was a consensus that the word should be found in at least one major English language dictionary (which would also be helpful for information whether the Yiddish word has a Germanic, Slavic or Hebrew origin). 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * 18:51, 23 September 2007 (UTC)


Why do we have an article with a list of English words of Yiddish origin? I don't recall seeing articles about English words of other origins. It just doesn't seem practical to have a list this long, especially when a large number of the words relate to body parts anyway. Entbark (talk) 17:23, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

OK, I see the other articles about English words of international origins. But still, it seems a little overboard. Entbark (talk) 17:25, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
It's an encyclopedia. Why shouldn't there be an article about Yiddish words taken up into English? Why should there not be an article for any given subject? That's what an encyclopedia is, a list of articles about things in the world around us. Best regardsTheBaron0530 (talk) 16:07, 8 March 2017 (UTC)theBaron0530

another reference list: Yiddish words now part of English[edit]

Halló! At I found page 3: Yiddish words now part of English. Best regards
‫·‏לערי ריינהארט‏·‏T‏·‏m‏:‏Th‏·‏T‏·‏email me‏·‏‬ 21:21, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Apparently, that pdf cites Webster's, so it'd be simpler just to use Webster's as a source (as I understand we've already done, sofar). 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * (talk) 10:33, 7 February 2008 (UTC)


What is the nature of the citation given at the new entry on "huck"? It would take a lot to convince me that that's an English word. AJD (talk) 15:16, 18 February 2008 (UTC)


One of the first Yiddish words I ever learnt was "schvitz" or "schvitzing" in reference to sweating. How come this hasn't been included on the list? LucianSong (talk) 04:18, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Because it's not an English word? AJD (talk) 05:47, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

what about the word fagella? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:24, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Feygele was removed, probably not found in any major dictionaries. 惑乱 分からん * \)/ (\ (< \) (2 /) /)/ * (talk) 16:39, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Should it have the redirect removed as well? I was redirected to this page, though it gives no information on the word. Or should it redirect to the yiddish wiki? FeygeleGoy/פֿײגעלע גױ‎ 02:09, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Feygele certainly shouldn't redirect to this page. It probably doesn't need to redirect anywhere at all, since nothing appears to link to it; it should probably just be deleted. AJD (talk) 05:44, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


Not being a Yiddish speaker, I won't edit the article, but from a Jewish friend I learned of verblunget, which the online Yiddish dictionary — — defines as "lost, bewildered, confused, befuddled, perplexed; misguided." (My friend's definition is "all f--ked up.") This seems equivalent to the modern German verwirrt, though not obviously a cognate. Do users more knowledgeable than I know if verblunget is widely used in English?

Sca (talk) 15:36, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

If you can find a reputable dictionary of English that lists it as a word, go ahead and add it. (In this article we generally depend on American Heritage, Merriam-Webster, and/or the OED.) For one, I've heard it some of the time, but not frequently enough that I'd call it an English word. It appears in one of Rosten's "Yinglish" books (probably under the spelling farblondzhet). AJD (talk) 02:04, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Do you know the etymology for *blondzh-? 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 21:59, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
Nope. AJD (talk) 17:22, 23 August 2008 (UTC) --Futhark|Talk 20:34, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! Sounds probable. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 11:25, 25 August 2008 (UTC)


There seems to be some trouble with the format, no spaces between Yiddish words and their Roman transliteration etc. Maybe someone could fix it up, I have trouble editing an entry going in two directions. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 11:42, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

? Hebrew?[edit]

Lots of these words are not Yiddish, but are Hebrew, eg Mamzer. --Dweller (talk) 14:22, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

A lot of Yiddish words come from Hebrew; and English borrowed a lot of those words from Yiddish, rather than directly from Hebrew. AJD (talk) 16:50, 11 December 2008 (UTC)


I argue that verklempt merits inclusion. I have heard the word numerous times during the last year or so. In a resent episode of the View they used this word. I found no entries searching OED online; however, I did find an entry at Verklempt means overwhelmed with emotion. I also assert that it does not come directly from German (it does come originally from German but the meaning we have is from Yiddish). Verklemmt is a German, but it means uptight. In yiddish dictionares there are entries for farklempt with the meaning choked up or overcome. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

I always though Mike Myers just made up a great Yiddish sounding word. Well if it did preexist, it's certainly many, many times better known because of Coffee Talk. The salient issue for this article is whether it is indeed Yiddish, or MikeMyersish. If the former, it matter not at all who popularized it. If the latter, it should never be included I would think, except in a section expressly labeled something like modern pseudo-Yiddish, which dedcribed the origins. Anyway, hearing it on The View is meaningless because of the popularizing from SNL. You would need to find a source actually describing it as Yiddish. The entry is goes some way, but I don't think it's at all definitive.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 00:28, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
I believe that it merits inclusion in the abstract also. (For what it's worth, Uriel Weinreich's Yiddish-English dictionary translates farklemt as 'depressed, grieving'.) However, I don't think we should include it until we find reliable sources, like dictionaries or research papers by linguists, stating both that it's an English word (rather than, say, a case of code-switching) and that it comes from Yiddish. We can't use gut feelings to go by here. AJD (talk) 01:37, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Is this[edit]

Really, that neccesary for it's own article?--Jakezing (Your King) (talk) 17:55, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

It just seems like a long list of Yiddish words to me. Only a third at most are in any sort of English variant that I've ever heard, though I accept that English speaking Jews with a Yiddish cultural history may use more. -- (talk) 19:50, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

here ya go, start slashing away. (talk) 04:28, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


I came across the word "chazerai" today and looked it up in Wikipedia. It redirects here, but there's no entry for it in the list. Either it should be added here, or if not considered significant enough the redirect should be removed. (talk) 20:34, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

It's a very well known reference, much more so than many of the words on this list. The term refers to pieces of garbage or pieces of crap. I'm sure a native speaker can give a more precise definition, but that's the gist of it. PicturesofDoodie (talk) 23:59, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
A chazer is a pig. Chazerrei means pig's slop/feed literally.-- (talk) 21:04, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Rosen is cited as the source for the definition given in this article but he says absolutely nothing about the word literally meaning pig food, or figuratively junkfood. He also uses the spelling chozzerei without any alternative. The 1st edition article is retained verbatim in the 2001 revision, The New Joys of Yiddish, which also includes the YIVO transliteration khazeray. The word literally means piggishness although it does not have quite the same sense as that word does in English, generally indicating something that is disgusting rather than gluttony.. --Futhark|Talk 11:31, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
If you read the definition in Rosen's Joys of Yiddish AND New Joys of Yiddish, then why not put that definition into this list, with the appropriate references, instead of just chucking it. Too lazy? :-)
--Skol fir (talk) 11:40, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
If laziness were the motivating force I wouldn't have bothered removing the miscited definition. --Futhark|Talk 11:47, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Well then, what's stopping you from putting in the word khazeray? --
"(Yiddish, from Heb. khazir, pig) /khoz zair EYE/ or chazeray, also chozzerai 1) food that is awful 2) junk, trash 3) anything disgusting, even loathsome" -- Not interested in expanding the list? I only got involved because I saw that a citation for such words is available, and you obviously took the time to read the two sources I mentioned. Maybe this list is not intended to be representative, just a sampling. Then just leave it as is. I did put the smiley for a reason. :-) --Skol fir (talk) 12:08, 2 January 2011 (UTC)


'Schmuck' means 'jewel', not penis. 'Schmucksachen' is a word frequently seen on signs in Germany and means 'jewelry items'. In describing a person, it is used in the same sense as saying, 'That guy's a real jewel' in English, meaning, of course, just the opposite. The association with sex organs exists also in English in the phrase 'the family jewels'. (talk) 17:03, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Well, scholarly sources do not agree with you: "...1892, from E.Yiddish shmok, lit. "penis," probably from Old Pol. smok "grass snake, dragon," and likely not the same word as Ger. schmuck "jewelry, adornments,"..."--22:04, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

"For some reason..."[edit]

The intro says "for some reason these words have entered the english language." This is pretty lazy. If you do some actual research, I'm sure you'll see that the reason they have entered the language is because of the large number of Jewish comedy writers and other Jews in the Hollywood industry who used the words for comedic effect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:14, 4 August 2010 (UTC)


AHD links no longer work, redirects to site root —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:04, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes, alas. If someone would find Meriam-Webster citations, it would be better. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 15:48, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
Bartleby seems to have withdrawn their AHD support as well.
--UnicornTapestry (talk) 18:19, 27 November 2010 (UTC)


In List of English words of Yiddish origin, I reversed the entry to show Bupkis preferred. My full OED shows bupkis preferred (listed with 'also, bupkes' (implying unequal status) and my smaller electronic OED shows bupkis but doesn't list bupkes at all. Google shows 41,300 bupkis entries, but only 7400 bupkes, again suggesting bupkis is the preferred spelling.

Curiosity: MW Collegiate lists bubkes (plural bubke) as their top spelling as well as bupkus.[8]

--UnicornTapestry (talk) 18:19, 27 November 2010 (UTC)


There is ample evidence in various sources that the origin of "Yarmulke" is not clear. Therefore, it is essential that we include all the possibilities (with references) so that the readers can judge for themselves. There is no reason to be restricted to only OED and Bartleby. All parts of the current definition have references to back them up. --Skol fir (talk) 01:42, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

BTW, for anyone who thinks that the Aramaic source is hogwash or just fanciful "folk etymology" consider the fact that a Rabbi from Jerusalem, Rabbi Shraga Simmons, contributed to the article, where he wrote, "Appropriately, the Yiddish word for head covering, 'yarmulke,' comes from the Aramaic, yira malka, which means 'awe of the King.' " This quote is from the second reference, next to the corresponding part of this definition for yarmulke within the Wiki article. --Skol fir (talk) 08:06, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
This article lists Yiddish words that have been absorbed into the English language. It is not an article about the deeper etymology of the Yiddish words themselves (or English, for that matter). It may be interesting to note the sense in which those words are used in the parent language, but this is not an appropriate place for lengthy consideration of unclear aspects of Yiddish etymology. There is a separate article on yarmulke and it is there that the origins of the word should be considered. M-W says that the word first appeared in English usage via Yiddish in 1906, and attests to a literal counterpart in Slavic vocabulary. Since Yiddish uses one orthography for words of Semitic origin and another for everything else, and uses the latter for yarmulke, an Aramaic origin is counterindicated. Asserting one, nonetheless, would require demonstrating far earlier linguistic warrant, predating the mainstream incorporation of Slavic vocabulary into Yiddish and explaining why the Yiddish orthography deviates in this particular case from consistent centuries'-old practice. However appealing it might be, phonetic similarity of an Aramaic phrase to the Yiddish word is not sufficient. Again, though, any further consideration should be moved to a new section on etymology in the yarmulke article. --Futhark|Talk 11:18, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
The "yarmulke" article is useless for etymology, since it is actually non-existent and redirects, as you know, to the "kippah" article. There is no place there for the origin of the word "yarmulke," unless someone starts a separate "yarmulke" article. I am not a language etymology expert (i.e. not a linguist), so I have no expertise in this area. In the first place, I was not the person who entered the section on the Aramaic origin. I noticed that it had been added in this edit :: David.podbere, was intrigued, rather than put off, and tried valiantly to back up the poor chap's no avail, since I have run up against the wall of the "skeptics"...and it is impossible to satisfy the skeptics with their circuitous arguments.
So, in the realization that my support of this entry was futile, and childish, I retreat back to my lair of ignorance. I lack the advanced degree in Hebrew, Yiddish and Linguistics. As for the tenuous link to Aramaic origins, with all due respect to Rabbi Shraga Simmons of Jerusalem, take it out—it is a blight to the purists among us. :-) --Skol fir (talk) 18:02, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
I just noticed on my "Watchlist" that Futhark already made the excision, however, I am puzzled as to why he/she also carelessly removed a perfectly harmless internal link to the Wikt entry for yarmulke AND the Merriam-Webster-supported statement of possible Turkish origins. I quote, "Yiddish yarmlke, from Polish jarmułka & Ukrainian yarmulka skullcap, of Turkic origin; akin to Turkish yağmurluk rainwear ...First Known Use: 1903." Also, Futhark left the two references in place that I had used to back up the Aramaic origin. Are they still relevant now? The truncation was a bit sloppy—as I have seen before from this editor...but then, chopping is easier than actually editing. :-) --Skol fir (talk) 18:20, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
The warrant required for a word to be listed in this article is provided by its appearing in an English dictionary, with its origin indicated as being Yiddish, or by some equivalent authority in English — not Yiddish — etymology. The way that word got into the Yiddish language is a separate topic, and although some English dictionaries do go into more than cursory detail about it, that is only a peripheral concern here. The native Yiddish orthography of the word yarmulke clearly indicates that it did not come directly from either Aramaic or Hebrew. Since the word itself also exists in at least two Slavic languages, there is little need to question them as the source of the Yiddish word.
Of course, this says nothing about the origin of the Slavic words but it is via that channel that the Aramaic phrase would have to be channeled if it were to be demonstrated as the ultimate origin. The same goes for the suggested Turkic origin. Without commenting on the merit of any of the arguments underlying those assertions, the present article is not the place to illuminate them. I can easily imagine a new section in the article on kippah for that purpose, or as suggested, removing the redirect from yarmulke and making a separate article out of it. None of this is the machination of purist skeptics. It's the way the Wikipedia works. (It was in keeping with one of the most trivial rules of editorship that I removed the redundant link to the separate entry to yarmulke. The keyword in the list is already linked.) --Futhark|Talk 18:37, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
Futhark said, "It was in keeping with one of the most trivial rules of editorship that I removed the redundant link to the separate entry to yarmulke. The keyword in the list is already linked." If you paid close attention to the link you removed, it was not the same. Compare what is in place at the anchor -- {{Anchor|yarmulke}}'''[[kippah|yarmulke]]''' -- with what you removed -- see also [[Wikt:yarmulke|yarmulke]]). The first links internally to the Wikipedia article for "Kippah." The second, and the one I was referring to, leads to Wiktionary. I was trying to broaden the scope of reference within Wikipedia by also going to the Wikt entry. So I repeat, you "removed a perfectly harmless internal link to the Wikt entry for yarmulke." Something in that link you don't agree with? Also, what about the two references I put in specifically for the "Aramaic" origin? Should they not be stripped out as well? Maybe we could keep the first one, since the quote you kept in -- 'the Aramaic phrase "yarei mei-elokah" (in awe of Eloah)" -- is taken directly from the reference entitled "Yarmulkes." The second reference was my pathetic attempt to back this up, but it was only from the words of a Rabbi. --Skol fir (talk) 19:54, 15 January 2011 (UTC)


Someone recently added boss as an anchor word in this list, but this had to be reverted (explanation below):

This was taken from a Jewish encyclopedia: "Ba'al ha-Bayit (master of the house); dialect form, Baalboos, whence Bal Boöste (mistress of the house)."
In "The New Joys of Yiddish" the word is defined as baleboss or balebos, depending on the source.
The English word "boss" as we know it, relating to a person in charge, comes from [Dutch baas, master] (American Heritage Dictionary), ergo "boss" is not an English word of Yiddish origin, and does not belong in this list.

To add to the confusion, there is a commercial farming implement called a Baleboss -- "Baleboss is a round bale handler created, tested and proven by a farmer. It mounts on a front loader, and makes handling round bales fast and accurate." This probably derives from a certain definition of boss meaning "an area of increased thickness, usually cylindrical, that strengthens or provides room for a locating device on a shaft, hub of a wheel, etc.," although it could just be a jocular way of saying "I'll show that bale who's boss!" (the last interpretation was mine). :-)
--Skol fir (talk) 19:04, 16 January 2011 (UTC)


I recently heard in a TV sitcom "handl" or "handel" (/hʌndl/) in the sense of "to bargain": "If you handel long enough, you'll get a good price"; also found here, which is widely cited. Should it be included? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 08:01, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Interesting, the word "Handel" (with that exact spelling) is also a native Norwegian word though, and might also exist in other Germanic languages meaning that it's only a possible word of Yiddish origin. What part of the US did this sitcom come from? Perhaps it's possible to find out where the word is likely to come from by locating the area where it is in use and what ethnic groups have traditionally lived there? Anyway, good luck to you all with making this list. Luredreier (talk) 22:41, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
The Norwegian word is likely from Middle Low German, cognate to English "handle", but with shifted meaning. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 17:01, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
"Handel" (from handeln) is a common German word, used in the very same way as in the (according to the source) yiddish way.TMCk (talk) 17:44, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
"It can be used like "feilschen" = "haggle".TMCk (talk) 17:47, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
This was quite clear in the list before Wakuran removed the Wiktionary definition of Wikt:handeln. I suggest to restore it. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 02:26, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I just edited it into the article's common format. 惑乱 Wakuran (talk) 10:37, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
A word that qualifies for this article must meet two conditions: a) be an established English lexeme and b) have entered that language via Yiddish. The appearance of cognates for "handel" in many Germanic languages is irrelevant to this. It is also irrelevant to demonstrate that Yiddish speakers use the word when speaking English. Wakuran was questioning its appearance in the etymological authorities that have thus far been applied to this article. Unless that can be demonstrated, or equivalent warrant provided, his deletion was correct. Otherwise, if anything, the widespread appearance of the word in Germanic languages would make it more difficult to demonstrate it having recently migrated from any particular one of them into any other. --Futhark|Talk 08:45, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

RE: Schamozzle[edit]

Or more accurately, Schlimmazel. This is a German/Yiddish variant of a Hebrew word for a person with bad luck. In older sources it's spelled Schlimm-mazel, which makes the meaning a little clearer (if you realize that mazel means luck). — Preceding unsigned comment added by JigsyQ (talkcontribs) 16:01, 14 April 2011 (UTC)


The word shiksa obviously is not a derivative of a Hebrew word. It is a Polish, slightly derogatory word, which means 'a young girl', literaly 'the one who pisses' (from sikać - to piss). Similary a girl, who cries is płaksa (from płakać - to cry).Yeti (talk) 11:14, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

It's the other way around: the Polish word siksa is derived from Yiddish.
BTW, sikać is also not a native Polish word; the original slavic root is szczać. Sikać is cognate to German sitzen, to sit; it likely originated as an euphemism, "to squat" rather than "to piss". While I am not certain, it might also have arrived in Polish via Yiddish. Freederick (talk) 14:27, 7 March 2017 (UTC)


I've slightly added to or altered some words (eg maven, kvell, schlep) to reflect usage and definitions as used/understood in the UK (especially London). This would reflect the differences from both the origin of Yiddish speaking in the UK and the knowledge and use of it both in the Jewish communities and amongst goyim - for exammple, the Uk does not have the Borscht Belt-type Jewish comic tradition which popularised many of these words in the USA. Anyway, I'm happy to discuss and edit these as necessary. Plutonium27 (talk) 16:53, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

goyishe kop[edit]

Isn't it funny that "goyishe kop" redirects to this page, but there is no trace of the term on either the main page or the discussion? Now why would that be? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:50, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

This goes back to July 2005 when there was an article for it, albeit totally unsourced. That article was then changed to a REDIRECT to this list, but the text was apparently never migrated. On the other hand, I'm not sure that 'goyishe kop' is an English word, and this Jewish English lexicon confirms that; maybe the term ought to be listed at Yiddish words used in English and the REDIRECT changed accordingly.. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:45, 19 August 2012 (UTC)


Not about the content, but about the behavior of the page: I can scroll down to "kvetch" but no farther. After that I can't scroll up or down or activate any link. Closing and reopening the page repeats the scenario. When I look at the page in Edit mode, I don't recognize anything that would cause this. If I go to "Show preview" from Edit, I get the same behavior. On a computer with a larger screen, the entry doesn't appear at all; the browser just cranks away with the message "" Could someone more knowledgeable than me find the culprit, and delete this (I hope) momentary trouble report?Village Explainer (talk) 13:57, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Using Windows XP + Firefox, I don't observe the behaviour you describe; the page behaves as expected. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 08:44, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Using Mac OS 10.6.8 and Chrome, I'm still seeing the same thing. Village Explainer (talk) 13:04, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
The freeze still happens on Chrome on Mac. It does not happen on Safari. Does anybody know of a specific Chrome bug that this page is catching? Village Explainer (talk) 15:28, 24 February 2013 (UTC)


schmooze: to converse informally, make small talk or chat (from Yiddish שמועסן shmuesn 'converse', from Hebrew שמועות shəmūʿōth 'reports, gossip') (OED, MW)

Rather from German "Schmusen", meaning to smooch (used metaphorically): As in "schmooze up to somebody" to obtain good faith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:25, 10 March 2013‎

  • I'm afraid you've fallen for a false friend; see the word's Merriam-Webster entry. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:07, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
    • I've fallen for lots of false friends over the years, yet in this case a false friend would imply a vastly different meaning, and 'Schmusen' seems to be spot on, exaggerating 'To talk casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection'. And it's funnier, too. However, it may be a false cognate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 10 March 2013‎
The point I was trying to make is that, despite what "Wiktionary schmusen – Etymology" says, there is IMO no relation between the German verb "schmusen" and the Yiddish "shmues(n)" – their meanings are too different (look it up). If you disagree, I challenge you to find any use of "schmusen" in the sense of "shmues". OTOH, I think that the German nouns "Schmu" and "Schmus" are related to that Yiddish term. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:39, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

where yiddish and german words are the same[edit]

how can it be proven that those terms came to the english language from the one or the other? (talk) 17:13, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

and what about dutch since some of those words are the same in dutch as well ??? (talk) 16:22, 25 March 2014 (UTC)


The entry for "kasha" clear says:

porridges (from קאַשע, the plural form Yiddish קאַשע "kash" which is derived from a Slavic word meaning porridge: каша)[4] Polish – buckwheat groats.

Doesn't this mean kasha is in fact a Slavic loanword (from either Polish or Russian) and not Yiddish? Netrat (talk) 10:07, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Over here in Europe an instant porridge product is marketed under the name of kasha and it is of Russian origin, so it has to be a Slavic loanword. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:39, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Hebrew or Yiddish?[edit]

Moreover, a lot of the words in the list ultimately come from Hebrew and just happen to be common for both Hebrew and Yiddish. Netrat (talk) 10:10, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Dubious Polish origin[edit]

A number of words are listed here as supposedly deriving from Polish, when in fact the reverse is far more likely, namely the Polish words deriving from Yiddish, or from German by way of Yiddish. Perhaps the Polish attribution should be removed, unless valid sources document that the derivation was from Polish and not the other way around. I am referring specifically to pairings (Yiddish - Polish): bubkes - bobki, noodge - nudziarz, schlub - żłób, schmate, schmutter - szmata, shikse - siksa, tschotchke - cacko, etc.Freederick (talk) 14:13, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Some of those words are in multiple Slavic languages, and if there is no cognates in Germanic languages or Hebrew, Occam's Razor suggests it's a Slavic borrowing. For instance жлоб (approximately "zhlob") is Russian, so żłób in Polish suggests it's a word common from proto-Slavic. Yiddish is widely attested to have a lot of Slavic borrowings in general, I don't see why you get the idea it's impossible these words are Polish. Wiktionary's entry for "bupkis" for instance also states: "From Yiddish באָבקעס ‎(bobkes), plural of באָבקע ‎(bobke, “goat or sheep dropping”), from באָב ‎(bob, “bean”) +‎ ־קע ‎(-ke), from Proto-Slavic *bobъ." which is approximately "bob" or "bop". JesseRafe (talk) 15:30, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Capitalized alternate spellings in list?[edit]

Why is this? They aren't proper nouns, they aren't starting a sentence, and there can't be a Yiddish reason because they are "English" words. It seems clunky to me. (So does bolding them.) Huw Powell (talk) 01:12, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

I agree. This edit by User:Slightnostalgia should be reverted. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 02:12, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

Most lists on Wikipedia do have this format. Slightnostalgia (talk) 17:55, 1 April 2017 (UTC)

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