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    The Best Yiddish Words

    The Best Yiddish Words

    "If you don't have anything nice to say, say it in Yiddish!" ~ Yiddish Proverb

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    Yiddish is arguably the most fun language ever. It's both humorous, dark, and largely insulting. Spoken by Ashkenazi Jews, Yiddish is similar to German, with some Hebrew and other Slavic languages thrown in for kicks. How many ways to call someone an “idiot” does one person need? Apparently a lot! Here are some of the best Yiddish words ever:

    • Balaboosta: The ultimate Jewish homemaker – she cooks, she cleans, she fries latkes. She's the best!
    • Bubbe: Grandmother. We love our Bubbe!
    • Bubbeleh: A term of endearment, darling. Bubbe often calls her Grandkids “bubbelehs”.
    • Bupkis: Worthless or nada. As in, “I can't believe you got me bubkis from ModernTribe for Hanukkah”

    Yiddish Word Magnets

      • ChutzpahNerve. As in, “It took a lot of chutzpah for you to take the last bagel!” (Not a compliment.)
      • Klutz: A clumsy person. 
      • Kvell: To beam with pride. As in, “Bubbe was kvelling when I started my own online Judaica store!”

      Totally Kvelling Shirt

      • Kvetch: To complain. As in, “If Mordechai had studied as much as he kvetched about the MCTs, he would have gotten into Med School!”
      • Mazel Tov: Literally means “good luck” but it is an expression used to express “congratulations”. 
      • Mensch: A good person. As in, “What a mensch you are for getting me a present from ModernTribe!”

      Mench Mug

      • Meshugina: Craziness. 
      • Nosh: To snack. As in, “Oy vey, I can’t stop noshing on bagels!"
      • Oy vey: An expression of dismay. As in, “Oy vey, I can't believe you ate the last bagel!”

      Oy Vey Earrings

      • Plotz: To collapse. As in, “I just ran all the way to Ess-a-Bagel to pick up bagels before they closed. I am so tired I could plotz!”
      • Putz: A vulgar word for a part of the male anatomy, or an idiot. Ironically it means both.
      • Schlep: To drag. As in, “I schlepped these bagels all the way home from NYC, the least you could do is toast me one with some schmear!
      • Shlemiel: A clumsy person, similar to a klutz. As in, “You shlemiel! You knocked the last bagel onto the floor!:
      • Shlimazel: Someone with bad luck. As in the person whose bagel got knocked over! Fun fact: On “Laverne and Shirley”, they sing “shlemiel” and “shlimazel” in the show opening hopscotch chant.
      • Shmooze: To make small talk. You would often shmooze at a cocktail party.
      • Schmuck: See putz.
      • Schmutz: Dirt. As in, “You have a little schmutz on your face.”
      • Shtup: To have sex with. I don’t think you need a sample sentence…
      • Shvitz: Sweat. As in, "I ran home to see if my ModernTribe package came and now I'm shvitzing!"
      • Tchatchke: A knick-knack, or a young floozy. Either way!
      • Yenta: A female gossip. As in, “She yaps non-stop about who is shtupping who. What a yenta!

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      Shtetl Mentality

      All you need is a celebrity or politician to throw a Yiddish word around, and suddenly everyone is a buzz and kibbitzing. NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently quoted a top Democrat as saying "I'm telling you, man, it's something about our party, the shtetl mentality."

      Of course, most people have no idea what "Shtetl" even means. Thanks to Maureen Dowd "Shtetl," a Yiddish word meaning "a 19th-century Eastern European Jewish village" is currently the #4 most searched word on the internet! Could you plotz?

      Read Maureen Dowd's entire NY Times article here.

      Feel free to kvetch or kvell in the comments section.

      Word of the Week: Schlep

      We're convinced that Yiddish is not only making a comeback, but that it is becoming a part of our everyday English vernacular. (See our previous Sopranos Post) Case in point - This week The New York Times ran an article titled Where the City Schleps. We also noticed that Daily Candy used schlep in one of their emails too.

      Speaking of schlepping, Splendora also featured our Yiddish Phrase Bag this week.

      For more Yiddish goodies, visit ChosenCouture.com.

      Sopranos Shocker

      No, we're not talking about anyone getting whacked on last night's episode of the Sopranos- we're talking about the use of the Yiddish word tsuris! Sure we've all hear oy, putz, and shmuck used on TV, but this might be a first for tsuris!

      Oy! Vat at billboard!


      Vatz up with this billboard advertising American Apparel? The shmatte company sure knows how to get our attention. The Forward reports that This billboard featuring Woody Allen dressed as a Chasid just went up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In Yiddish, it states "the holy rebbe."