Yiddish is known as being its own rich linguistic culture. Born out of Hebrew and German, Yiddish has many unique words and phrases that are used to give humor, sarcasm, and joy in the moment as needed. Here is a look at some of the best yiddish sayings to get started with using today.
AY-YAY-YAY: A Joyous, or at times sarcastic, exclamation.
BALABUSTA: The wife of an important person or a bossy woman.
BISSEL, BISSELA: A little.
BOBBEMYSEH: Old wive’s tales, nonsense.
BROCHE: A prayer.
BUBBALA: A term of endearment, darling.
FARPITZS: All dressed up.
FERDRAYT: Dizzy, confused.
FERSHTAY?: Do you understand.
FERTUMMELT: Befuddled, confused.
GAVALT: A cry of fear or a cry for help. Oy Gevalt is often used as expression meaning “oh how terrible.”
GONIF: A thief, a tricky clever person, a shady character.
HAYMISH: Informal, friendly. A haimisher mensch is someone you feel comfortable with.
HOK A CHAINIK: To talk too much, to talk nonsense.
KIBITZ: To offer comments which are often unwanted during a game, to tease or joke around. A kibitzer gives unasked for advice.
KISHKA: Intestines, belly. To hit someone in the “kishka” means to hit him in the stomach or guts.
KLUTZ: An awkward, uncoordinated person.
KOSHER: Refers to food that it prepared according to Jewish law. More generally kosher means legitimate.
LOCH IN KOP: Literally a hole in the head, refers to things one definitely does not need.
LUZZEM: Leave him be, let her or him alone.
MACH SHNEL: Hurry up.
MAZEL TOV: Good luck, usually said as a statement of support or congratulations.
NARRISHKEIT: Foolishness, trivia.
NEBBISH: An inadequate person, a loser.
ONGEPOTCHKET: Messed up, slapped together without form, excessively and unesthetically decorated.
OY-YOY-YOY: An exclamation of sorrow and lamentation.
PISHER: A bed-wetter, a young inexperienced person, a person of no consequence.
PUTZ: A vulgarism for penis but most usually used as term of contempt for a fool, or an easy mark.
SAYKHEL: Common sense.
SHAYNER: Pretty, wholesomely attractive, as in shayner maidel (woman.)
SHMOOZ: To hang out with, a friendly gossipy talk.
TCHOTCHKA: An inexpensive trinket, a toy. Can also mean a sexy but brainless girl. The affectionate diminutive is tchotchkala.
TSETUMMELT: Confused, bewildered.
TSORISS: Suffering, woes.
UNGABLUZUM: To look as if one is going to cry.
VUS MACHS DA: What’s happening? What’s up?
ZETZ: A strong blow or punch.
ZHLUB: An insensitive, ill-mannered person, a clumsy individual.
ZIE GA ZINK: Wishing someone good health.
Here is a unique look at some of the best and most popular yiddish phrases to use during day-to-day communication.
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