(ah BIS-sel) Phr. "a little," a smattering. Also "a biseleh" meaning very little. "Put a biseleh of mustard on that hotdog!"
(ah BROOKH) n. An expletive, a curse. A way to express misery, disgust, or disaster. When heard -- duck: this guy is utterly fed up!
A chazer bleibt a chazer
(ah KHA-zer blaybt ah-KHA-zer) phr. A pig remains a pig.
A choleryeh af dir!
(ah cho-LER-yah af dir) A plague on you! (Lit., wishing someone to get cholera). Also abbreviated simply as a kholeryeh.
A farshlepteh krenk
(ah fahr-SHLEP-teh krenk) n. A chronic pain or ailment; a lingering headache or malady. "How is she? She and her ~ are all my business?"
A gezunt dir in pupik
(ah ge-ZOONT deer in POO-pik) Phr. "Good health to your belly button." A prototypical Yiddish blessing. A sarcastic riff of this phrase is: A shaynem dank dir im pupik. "Many thanks to your belly button," i.e., Thanks for nothing. A shaynem dank means "thank you very much." Note that this phrase can be used sarcastically to mean "thanks for nothing!"
A gezunt ahf dein kop!
(ah ge-ZUNT ahf dein kup) Phr. "Health on your head." Good health to you; may it always be well with you; may you be well and full of simchah! Another typical Yiddish blessing.
A shaynem dank
(ah SHAY-num dahnk) phr. "thank you very much."
A shreklekheh zakh
(ah shrek-LEKH-eh-zakh) A horrible thing! "Nu, what's wrong?" "A ~," he said. Note that the movie "Shrek" comes from this Yiddish word....
A shtuken nisht in hartz
(ah-SHTOO-ken NISHT in harts) "A stab in the heart." A miserable memory.
(ah-BISH-ter) n. God; the Almighty. (The ~ works in strange ways, nu?).
(AHKH) n. An expletive, used in a way like "Oy!" (see O entries)
Ad meah v'esrim shanah
(ad may-ah ve-ess-reem shan-nah) Phr. "May you live to be 120 years" is a common Hebrew blessing for longevity and a full live (based on the number of years Moses lived). Note that in Yiddish this is sometimes spelled עד מאה ועשׁוים שׁנה.
(ahf SORE-ess) adv. Full of tzuris or troubles; in trouble; in hot water; in "doo-doo." (Whoever did this is ~!)
Af tzu lochis
(ahf tsoo LOKH-ess) adv. Spitefully: Just to get (someone) angry. For spite; Also spelled as one word: aftselokhes. "It's bedtime, and the child ~ just started his homework."
(ah-GOON-ah) n. "Chained one." A wife of a husband M.I.A.; woman whose husband refuses to grant a divorce. (He'll make no ~ out of me!)
(aye-aye-aye) Variegated meanings, depending on intonation, from happy to sad.
(a-lev ha-SHO-lem) "May he rest in peace" - said postpositively:
"As my uncle Henry, ~, used to say..."; for women: aleha ha sholem.
(al-e-VAI) "If only!" "I hope so," "I wish!," "It should only happen," amen. (Next year in Jerusalem, ~.) Also spelled halivai!
(all-RIGHT-nik) n. Member of the status quo; one who has made it into bourgeois society. Also, nouveau riche; ongeshtopt mit gelt.
(AL-shvartz-yarn) n. Way out in the middle of nowhere; "nowheresville..."
(AL-teh moyd) n. Spinster, old maid.
(AL-ter KOCK-er) n. Crotchety, crabby, ill-manner old man; "old fart"; abbrev. A.K.
(AL-ter Noy-ef) n. A dirty old man; a "cringy" or annoying person.
Altz iz gut
(ahlts-eez-goot) phr. "All is good." All is well; b'seder.
(GON-if) "Americam the thief!" A humorous expression which [roughly] means "only in America!," or "clever Americans!" or "Imagine that! -- Only in America would you see that!" There is a negative side to the phrase, however, since it suggests that some people in America made/get their fortunes, etc., by trickery, deception, and so on.
(ah-pik-ah-rahs) n. Yiddish for "Epicurean," that is, someone who regards sensual matters to be all important. Hence, a skeptic, a cynic, or nonbeliever who ridicules traditional Jewish practice and Yiddishkeit.
(ah-ROYCE-ge-VOR-fen) adj. Wasted; thrown away (~ hope).
(AH-skan) n. A Jewish social worker or community leader. Plural is askanim.
(a-VAY-ruh) n. transgression; sin; shandeh; pity (it's an ~ to get rid of that dress!)
(ah-ZOY) Really? Mamash? Azoy gait es! phr. "That's how it goes!"
(ah-zoy GIKH) So soon?
(bal te-SHOO-vah) n. A "master of return" or "born again (frum) Jew." A Jew who has returned to traditional observance (usually from a place of little or no Jewish observance at all). Baalei Teshuvah is the plural.
(bal TOY-ruh) n. Learned man, scholar (he's a real ~).
(BAHD-khan)n. Jester, merrymaker or master of ceremonies at a wedding or other simcha; at the end of the meal he announces the presents, lifting them up and praising the giver and the gift in a humorous manner.
(ba-leh-BUST-eh) n. A top-notch homemaker; super-woman or super woman; eshet chayil par excellence. Also spelled balabusteh, balaboosteh, etc.
(bal-e-BAT-im) n. pl. Persons of high standing; reputable people; community leaders (the board members of the synagogue). The adjective form is balebatish. Balebatisheh yiden (yeed-en) refers to respectable Jews, people of substance and good standing in the community.
(BAHL-a-gan) n. A complete and often sloppy mess; muddle; chaos, etc.
(bal-a-GOO-lah) n. Truckdriver or sloppy person of low standing.
(bal-ma-LOW-kha) n. An expert (sometimes used sarcastically); a maven.
(ba-SHERT) n. One's beloved; fiance(e); (My ~ and I are soon to be married). This word means "fated" or "predestined."
(be-HAY-meh) n. Dumb animal; drudge; dolt; dull person; someone with the brains of a cow (don't sit there like some ~!).
(BENK-shaft) n. Homesickness, nostalgia.
(BENTSH) v. To bless; recite a blessing; adj is gebentscht (blessed). Bentsch licht means to light and bless the Shabbat candles
(BEAR-yah) n. Efficient, competent housewife.
(big MAH-kher) Big-shot; mogul; boss; one who is always wheeling and dealing.
(BIS-el) A tiny bit (a ~ of salt). Bisseleh is the diminuative.
(BEEST me-SHOO-geh) "Are you crazy?" "Are you serious?" Are you kidding me?
(ble-KHE-dikh) adj. Wan; ashen; sickly; pallid; lifeless; sickly; sick to the stomach.
(BORE-chen) To grumble; growl; to kvetch; bellyache (What? are you bortchening again?)
(boych) n. Belly, esp. a protuberant one. Big belly (uncle Ernie really has a ~ on him!)
(BOY-chik) n. Affectionate term for boy. Diminutive is boychickel.
(brekh) v. To vomit; barf.... The smell of the food here makes me what to ~.
(BREKH-vard) n. Food that sickens you or makes you gag.
(BREN) n. A person of great energy or charisma. A real firecracker or livewire. From brennen, to burn.
(bris) n. B'rit Milah, when an 8-day old boy sits on the knees of a sandek (godfather) and gets circumcised (don't take a front row seat at a Bris -- this is in bad taste).
(BROY-guss) n. A mixture of being sullen, morose, removed, unmotivated, distracted, unusually quiet, etc. Not on speaking terms; in a state of estrangement. (So he'll be ~ with us! - Who cares?) Synonym: bummed out. Also spelled broygis. Note that broygus can also refer to a falling out, a grudge -- What's the ~ between them?
(BROOKH-eh) n. Blessing (Nu, are you going to say the ~ already?) Also spelled broche.
(bub-eh) n. Grandmother (zayde is grandfather).
(bub-eh-MY-seh) n. Literally, "grandmother's story," hence, an old wive's tale; tall tale; something patently untrue. The phrase is formed from the Yiddish word bubbe (grandmother) and ma'asei, the Hebrew word meaning "account" (as in ma'asei bereshit - a mystical account of the creation). Alternative spellings of bubbe maiseh include bobbe meyseh, bubbe meyse, and so on.
(BUB-e-leh) "Little grandma"; term of endearment for children; general term of endearment (yes, ~, the check is in the mail).
(BUB-ee) n. Friendly term for anybody you like.
(bul-BEN-ik) Someone who talks with a potato in his mouth. One who makes a lot of verbal gaffes.
(BUP-kiss) n. Nothing; nada; "beans"; an offensively small amount compared to the effort it took to acquire (disappointed I got ~ for my birthday). Also spelled bubkes.
(khai) adj. Hebrew word for alive, comprised of the two Hebrew letters, Chet and Yod. The letter "Chet" has the numeric value of 8, and the letter "Yod", has the value of 10, for a total of 18. 18, then, is gematria for Chai and is considered a special number.
(khai kock) Crap; something worthless (he'll get ~ from the settlement).
(khal-AIR-re-ah) n. A mean-spirited woman; a shrew; harpy.
(KHAL-ish) v. faint (from hunger). (I'm about to ~ if I don't get something to eat).
(KHAL-lah) n. Braided loaf of white bread, glazed with egg white and served during Shabbat and other holidays.
(kha-LOOSH-ess) n. Nausea, faintness, unconsciousness. Also nauseating (her outfit was simply ~). Adj. form is chalushisdik.
(kha-LOOSH-iz-dik) adj. sickening; disgusting; revolting (a ~ appeal for money).
(cham-AL-yah) A real whack or hard punch. "If that guy upstairs doesn't stop playing his music so loud, I'm gonna go up there and give him such a ~!"
(KHAS-se-neh) n. Wedding. The elements of a Jewish wedding normally include the following: one chosson (the groom), one kallah (the bride), and a ceremony sometimes referred to as kiddushin. Separate steps usually accompany a traditional wedding:
- Shidduch - it's a match!
- Vort - formal engagement
- Ketubah - marriage contract
- Bedekin - the visit from the chosson to the veiled bride (after a week of no contact after the engagement)
- Chuppah - the wedding canopy
- Kiddushin - The giving of the ring
- Sheva brachot - seven blessings recited over the couple
- Breaking of the glass - remembering the exile even in our joy
- Cheder yichud - "room of privacy" - the closed room where bride and groom are together for the first time. Normally they share a meal here, directly after the ceremony.
- The reception - dancing, music, etc.
(KHAS-se-ne MAKH-en) v. To plan and execute a wedding.
(KHA-sid) n. A pious person; follower of Chasidic philosophy.
(KHAZ-an) n. Cantor, singer in shul. Also spelled "chazzen."
(KHA-ze-rye) n. Pig food. Junk food; trash; drek; a mess (put it with the other ~).
(KHE-der) n. Room / school where Hebrew is taught.
(khelm) n. Fool's paradise; the name of a legendary town inhabited by foolish, befuddled, but endearing people. The Chelmites are the subject of many Yiddish jokes.
(KHAZ-er) n. pig; glutton; adj. chazzerish.
(KHOH-zek) n. Encouragement; strength (give him some ~)
(KHrain) n. Horseradish.
(KHOOM-rah) n. "severity" or "restriction." A extra rule or practice one voluntarily takes on as a personal fence (gezeirah) around the Torah.
(KHOOP-ah) n. Wedding canopy; hence, a marriage.
(KHOOTS-pah) n. Nerve; insolence; presumption and arrogance (that quality of a man who, having murdered his parents pleads with the court to show him mercy on account of being an orphan).
(khoots-PEN-ik) n. Impudent fellow; someone who has a lot of chtizpah (nerve).
(KOCK-a-MAY-mee) adj. Not credible; foolsihly complicated; ridiculous; implausible; muddled; (a ~ story; of all the ~ excuses!)
(DA-ahs TO-rah)- Torah knowledge; the Torah world; Torah perspective.
(DAHN-ken Got)- exclamation: "Thank God!"
(DAH-ven) v. To pray, usually in a formulaic or ritualized fashion, such as davening morning prayers before shacharit services.
(DAHV-ka) Davka means "only" -- and no other. For instance, a child who wants only a certain toy and will take no other is demanding davkah that toy. Or when the Torah tells us to make a Menorah out of beaten gold we may ask why dakvah beaten gold? And so on. Davka can also mean "particularly, despite expectations to the contrary." E.g., "She was not the most educated person at the party, but ~ she impressed me the most." Davka generally means "in defiance," "despite." Also spelled dafka.
(DAHV-ka-nist) n. Protestor, contradictor; a contentious person (what, you're now a ~).
Der mensch trakht un Gott lahkht
(der mensh trakht un Got lahkt) - Man thinks (plans) and God laughs.
(der-vahr TOH-rah) - n. phr.; also spelled: d'var Torah. A word of Torah; a discussion of the weekly Torah portion.
(DON-er-shtik) n. "Thursday;" hence, manana; "the next day" (I'll get to on ~).
(DOP-ess) n. A useless but commiserating bystander; an ineffectual observer who is of little help (the shlemiel drops the iron, the shlemazl gets hurt, and the ~ says 'tsk, tsk').
(DORF-yingk) n. Boor; country-bumpkin; rube.
Dos gefelt mir
(dos ge-FELT meer) phr. "This pleases me."
(DRAY-kup) n. a "turned around head," hence someone who's often confused. (He sometimes thought his aunt was a bit of a ~ ).
(DRAY-dl) n. A top used in playing a game of chance during the festival of Chanukah; in Hebrew a Sivivon. Hebrew letters on the sides form an acronym to the sentence: "Nes (Nun) Gadol (Gimmel) Hayah (Hey) Sham (Shim)" ("A Great Miracle Was There"). In Israel, the Shin is replaced with a Pey (for "po" - here).
(drek) n. Substandard merchandize; worthless junk; shoddy stuff. Also spelled "dreck."
(DOO-khen) v. To recite the Aaronic blessing (birkat kohanim) from the platform in front of the Holy Ark. In Hebrew, dukhan means "platform."
Du zol nicht vissen frum tsores
(doo zohl nikht VIS-en froom TSORE-es) phr. "You should never know from tsores (misery, pain, agony, etc.).
(DIB-bik) n. Evil spirit; demon; incubus.
(ekh!) A groan or disparaging exclamation.
(EK-veldt) n. "the end of the earth." They like to vacation up in ~.
(AY-del) Gentle; sensitive; refined; polite and modest; (he's ~). A generous compliment. Edelkeit: n.
(AY-del mensh) n. A gentleman.
(AYN-geh-shpart) adj. stubborn; obstinate; mule-like.
Einhoreh / Ein Hara
(ine-HAW-reh) n. Also spelled "ein hara. " Exclamation: "No offense!" meaning what was said or done was without the "evil eye" - that is, not said in envy or in spite.... ("Look, let me just say this, ~, that maybe you could try a different approach?")
(EM-es) n. truth (unvarnished). No one wants the ~ about the deal.
(eng-brew) n. English written using Hebrew letters. (Note that this is not a Yiddish word, but rather a portmanteau from English+Hebrew that is part of frumspeak). Synonym with Hebrish (Hebrew+English).
(EP-pes) pn. Something (I'll have ~ to eat). As an adverb epes means "somewhat" (he's ~ a bore).
Eppes a nudnik
(EP-pes ah NOOD-nik) phrase: "Something of a pest." Like a nunik or nuisance.
(eyr-LIKR'r yeed'n) n pl. Upright Jews. Religious Jews.
(ess) v. Eat. Often as a command: "~ before the food gets cold!"
(ess-ge-ZUN-ter-hate) phr. "Eat in good health!"
Ess vet zich oys-hailen far der chasseneh
(ess vet zikh oys-hale-en far der KHAS-se-neh) Phr. "It will heal in time for the wedding" (told even to a child when s/he gets hurt. The implication is that marriage is a cure-all). See Chasseneh for more.
(far-BISS-en) adj. Bitter; sullen; embittered person; crippled by bitterness. n. sourpuss; bitter person; crabby mean person. A farbissener (m) or farbissenah (f) is a grump or crabby person; a bitter person or curmudgeon.
(far-BISS-en-eh POO-nim) n. Sour face; bitter-looking face; grouchy face.
(far-BLON-jet) adj. lost; hopelessly off course; wandering about without any idea of where you are; dazed and confused (so ~ I wound up in New York!)
(FAR-breng-er) n. Party (esp. a religious one)
(far-BRENT-er) n. A fiery-eyed radical; fanatic; devotee.
(far-FALL-en) adj. doomed; lost; fallen to hell (he considers the prospect ~).
(far-FOILED) adj. Spoiled, rotten, decayed. "Time to get rid of that ~ milk!"
(far-FUF-ket) adj. befuddled; stunned; taken aback (the sage looked a bit ~).
(far-KLEMPT) adj. Sad; Choked-up; too emotional to talk; overwhelmed; misty-eyed; distressed (I'm so ~!).
Farkocktah / Farkockt
(far-KOK-tah) adj. Worse than "crappy" (be careful with this word!) Utterly messed up and out of order; lousy (what is this ~ magazine?)
Farmakh dos moyl!
(far-MAKH das moil) Phrase: "Shut your mouth!"
(far-POOST) adj. dressed-to-kill; highly decorated or arrayed (you look so ~ I didn't recognize you!).
(far-SHAH-det) adj. Pained; wounded; hurt. (He's ~ because I ate his soup.)
(far-SHLEP-tah krenk) n. "a chronic krenk (illness or afflication)." A continual pain in the neck or sore spot... This phrase is also used to refer to a painful issue that never has been resolved between people...
(far-SHLUG-en-er) adj. Mixed up; adulterated; debased; screwed up (the ~ Democrats and their whiny ways).
(far-SHTAY) Understand? Comprehend? Do you get it? (Ich ~ Yiddish?) Also spelled farshtayst.
(far-SHTINK-en-er) n. Stinky person; smelly person; adj. selfish and insincere. The adjective form is farshtunkeneh.
(far-shvitzd) adj. Sweaty; dripping wet; "shvitz" is sweat.
(far-TOOST) adj. bewildered; disoriented; discombobulated; seriously confused.
(far-voos) phr. Why? For what?
Excl. How disgusting! Phooey! That stinks! An general expression of disgust or distaste. (A dog sleeps in my bed? ~!)
(FINE-shmek-er) adj./n. A person with fine taste; elite; epicure.
(fer-DRIM-eld) adj. Dreaming, daydreaming (~ in his books)
(fer-KLEMPT) adj. Sad; too emotional to talk; overwhelmed; misty-eyed; entirely distressed (I'm so ~!).
(fer-MISHT) adj. Mixed up in the head; turned around; confused; addled; scrambled; turned upside down and inside out. Topsy-turvy.
(fer-KOKT) adj. Worse than "crappy" (be careful with this word!) Utterly messed up and out of order; lousy (what is this ~ magazine?)
(fur-PITZT) adj. dressed up
(fer-SHNICK-it) adj. Drunk; inebriated; "al lo yodea'" drunk (from Purim)
(fer-SHIM-meld) adj. moldy; fusty.
(fer-SHTICKT) adj. choking; gagging; utterly grossed-out and disgusted (I was ~!).
(fer-SHTOONK-en-eh) adj. Stinking; n. shtunk (nasty, stinking person).
(fur-KOK-teh) adj. Worse than "crappy"; Utterly messed up and out of order.
(FAY-ge-leh) n. "Little bird" - sweet young man or girl; fairy child (derogative: homosexual).
Finster un glitshik
(FIN-ster un GLIT-shik) adj. Miserable; "dark and slippery."
(fi-ZAY-nish) n. A monster; ugly individual; (for example, your daughter's fiance whom you do not like).
(FLAY-shig) adj. "of meat". Consisting of, prepared with, or relating to meat or meat products. A kosher concept.
(FON-fer-er) n/v. Someone who talks through his nose; a double-talker; a cheat; swindler (he's a fonferer - watch his math!) The verb is to fonfer....
(FRAY-likh) adj. Happy (~ music); festive; gay. Also spelled freylech. Happy; cheery; optimistic; in a good mood.
(fress) To eat a great deal; to eat quickly and voraciously. Fresser: n; fressing: adj; To nosh is to snack; to ess is to eat; but you fress when you're acting like a chozzer.
From your mouth to God's ears...
(foon da-yeen moy-el in gots oy-ern) פֿון דײַן מויל אין גאָטס אויערן - Classic yiddish phrase expressing wish, desire, hope: "From your mouth into God's ears." Halevai.
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