List of Yiddish Words and Expressions
I J K
P Q R S
T U V
W X Y Z
- A bisel - A little
- A biseleh - A very little
- A breyre hob ich - I have no alternative
- A breyte deye hob'n - To do all the talking (To have the greatest say or
- A broch! - Oh hell! Damn it!! A curse!!!
- A broch tzu dir! - A curse on you!
- A broch tzu Columbus - A curse on Columbus
- A brocheh - A blessing
- A chazer bleibt a chazer - A pig remains a pig
- A chorbn - Oh, what a disaster (Oh S**T! an expletive)
- A choleryeh ahf dir! - A plague on you! (Lit., wishing someone to get
- A deigeh hob ich - I don't care. I should worry.
- A farshlepteh krenk - A chronic ailment
- A feier zol im trefen - He should burn up! (Lit., A fire should meet him.)
- A finstere cholem auf dein kopf und auf dein hent und fiss - (a
horrible wish on someone) A dark dream (nightmare) on your head, hands and
- A foiler tut in tsveyen - A lazy person has to do a task twice
- A gesheft hob nicht - I don't care
- A gezunt ahf dein kop! - Good health to you (lit., Good health on your head)
- A glick ahf dir! - Good luck to you (Sometimes used sarcastically about minor good
fortunes) Big thing!
- A glick hot dich getrofen! - Big deal! Sarcastic; lit., A piece of luck happened to you.
- A groyser tzuleyger - A big shot (sarcastically.)
- A grubber yung - A coarse young man
- A kappore - A catastrophe.
- A khasuren die kalleh is tsu shayn - A fault that the bride is too
- A klog iz mir! - Woe is me!
- A klog tzu meineh sonim! - A curse on my enemies!
- A langer lucksh - A tall person (a long noodle)
- A leben ahf dein kepele - A life on your head (A grandparent might say to
a grandchild meaning "you are SO smart!")
- A leben ahf dir! - You should live! And be well!
- A lung un leber oyf der noz - Stop talking yourself into illness! (Lit., Don't imagine a
lung and a liver upon the nose)
- A maidel mit a vayndel - A pony-tailed nymphet.
- A maidel mit a klaidel - A cutie-pie showing off her (new) dress.
- A mentsh on glik is a toyter mensh - An unlucky person is a dead person.
- A mentsh tracht und Gott lacht - A person plans and God laughs.
- A metsieh far a ganef - It's a steal (Lit., A bargain for a thief.)
- A nahr bleibt a nahr - A fool remains a fool
- A nechtiker tog! - Forget it! (Lit., "A day that's a night.")
- A nishtikeit! - A nobody!
- A piste kayleh - A shallow person (an empty barrel)
- A ritch in kop - Crazy (in the head.)
- A schwartz yor - Bad luck. (LIT., A black year)
- A schwartzen sof - A bad end.
- A shandeh un a charpeh - A shame and a disgrace
- A shittern mogn - Loose bowel movement
- A shtik naches - A great joy
- A shtyfer mogn - Constipated
- A sof! A sof! - Let's end it ! End it!
- A tuches un a halb - A person with a very large backside. (Lit., A
backside and a half.)
- A volf farlirt zayne hor, ober nit zayn natur - A wolf loses his hair but
hot his nature. "A leopard cannot change his spots.
- Abi gezunt! - As long as you're healthy!
- Achrahyes - Responsibility
- Afn gonif brennt das hittel - "He thinks everyone knows he committed a
crime." (a thief's hat burns)
- Ahf mir gezogt! - I wish it could be said about me!
- Ahf tsores - In trouble
- Ahf zu lochis - Spitefully (Lit: Just to get (someone) angry.)
- Ahntoisht - Disappointed
- Ahzes ponim - Impudent fellow
- Aidel - Cultured or finicky
- Aidel gepotchket - Delicately brought up
- Aidim - Son-in-law
- Ainikle - Grandchild
- Aitzeh - Advice
- Aiver butelt - Absent minded; mixed up
- Alaichem sholom - To you be peace. Used in response to the the greeting
- Alef-bais - Alphabet; the first two letters of the Jewish alphabet
- Alevei! - It should happen to me (to you)!
- Alle ziben glicken - Not what it's cracked up to be (all 7 lucky things)
- Alles in einem is nisht do bei keine - All in one (person) is to be found
in no one.
- Alrightnik - One who has succeeded
- Alrightnikeh - Feminine form of "alrightnik."
- Alteh moid - Spinster, old maid
- Alter bocher - Bachelor
- Alter bok - Old goat
- Alter Kocker - An old man or old woman.
- An alteh machashaifeh - An old witch
- An alter bakahnter - An old acquaintance
- An alter trombenick - An old bum
- An emmisse meisse - An (absolutely) true tale
- Apikoros - An unbeliever, a skeptic, an athiest
- Arbit - Work
- Arein - Come in!
- Aroisgevorfen - Thrown out, wasted, (wasted opportunities)
- Aroisgevorfene gelt - Thrown out money (Wasted money)
- Arumgeflickt! - Plucked! Milked!
- Arumloifer - Street urchin; person who runs around
- Aydem - Son-in-law
- Ayn klaynigkeit - Ya, sure!! (very derogatory)
- Az a yor ahf mir. - I should have such good luck.
- Az di bobe volt gehat beytsim volt zi geven mayn zeyde! - If my
grandmother had testicles she would be my grandfather.
- Az mir vill schlugen a hunt, gifintmin a schtecken - If one wants to beat
a dog, one finds a stick.
- Az och un vai! - Tough luck! Too bad! Misfortune!
- Azoy? - Really?
- Azoy gait es! - That's how it goes!
- Azoy gich? - So soon?
- Azoy vert dos kichel tzekrochen! - That's how the cookie crumbles!
- Babka - Coffee cake style pastry
- Badchan - Jester, merry maker or master of ceremonies at a wedding; at the end of the
meal he announces the presents, lifting them up and praising the giver and the gift in a
- Bagroben - To bury
- Baitsim - Testicles
- Balebatim - Persons of high standing
- Balbatish - Quiet, respectable, well mannered
- Balebatisheh yiden - Respectable Jews, people of substance and good standing in the
- Baleboosteh - Mistress of the house. A compliment to someone who is a
terrific housekeeper. "She is some baleboosteh!"
- Balegoola - Truckdriver or sloppy person of low standing.
- Balmalocha - An expert (sometimes used sarcastically- Oy, is he an
- Balnes - Miracle-worker
- Bal Toyreh - Learned man, scholar
- Bareden yenem - To gossip
- Baren (taboo) - Fornicate: bother, annoy
- Barimer - Braggart, show-off
- Bashert - Fated or predestined
- Bas-yekhide - A female only child
- Bashert zein - To be destined
- Batampte - Tasty , delicious
- Batlan - Someone without a trade or a regular means of livelihood
- Baysn zikh di finger vos - Regret strongly that........
- Becher - Wine goblet
- Behaimeh - Animal, cow (when referring to a human being, means dull-witted)
- Bei mir hust du gepoylt - You've gotten your way with me.
- Ben-yokhid - A male only child
- Benken - "To yearn for" or "to long for."
- Benkshaft - Homesickness, nostalgia
- Bentsh - To bless, to recite a blessing
- Bentshen lecht - Recite prayer over lit candles on Sabbath eve or Holy Day candles
- Beryeh - Efficient, competent housewife
- Bes medresh - Synagogue
- Bialy - Named for the Polish city of Bialystock, the bialy is of Jewish
origin. A Bialy is a fairly large (about 6 inches) chewy round yeast roll.
Somewhat similar to a bagel, it has a depression rather than a hole in the
centre, and is sprinkled with chopped sauteed onion before baking.
- Bikur cholem - Visiting the sick
- Billik - Cheap, inexpensive
- Bist meshugeh? - Are you crazy?
- Biteh - Please
- Blondjen - To wander, be lost
- Boarderkeh - A female boarder
- Boch - A punch
- Bohmer - Bum (masc.)
- Bohmerkeh - Bum (fem.)
- Boorvisser fiss - Barefoot
- Boreke borsht - Beet borsht which the wealthy could afford.
- Borekes - Pastries with cheese inside
- Borsht - Beet soup
- Borsht circuit - Hotels in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, with an almost entirely
Jewish clientele, who are fond of borsht; term is used by entertainers
- Borviss - Barefoot
- Botvenye borsht - Borsht made from beet leaves for the poor.
- Boychik - Young boy (term of endearment)
- Boykhvehtig - Stomachache
- Breeye - Creature, animal
- Breire - choice
- Bris - Circumcision
- Bristen - Breasts
- Broitgeber - Head of family (Lit., Bread giver)
- Bronfen - Whiskey
- Broygis - Not on speaking terms
- B'suleh - Virgin
- Bubbeh - Grandmother
- Bubbe maisse - Grandmother's tale.
- Bubbee - Friendly term for anybody you like
- Bubeleh - Endearing term for anyone you like regardless of age
- Bulvan - Man built like an ox; boorish, coarse, rude person
- Bupkis - Nothing. Something totally worthless (Lit., Beans)
- Butchke - chat, tete-a-tete, telling tales
Chaider - Religious School
Chaim Yonkel - any Tom, Dick or Harry
Chaimyankel kooternooz - The perennial cuckold
Chaleria - Evil woman. Probably derived from cholera.
Chaleshen - Faint
Challa - Ceremonial "egg" bread. Either round or shaped long. Used on
Shabbat and most religious observances with the exception of Pesach (Passover)
Chaloshes - Nausea, faintness, unconsciousness
Chamoole - Donkey, jackass, numbskull, fool
Chamoyer du ainer! - You blockhead! You dope, You ass!
Chanukah - Also known as the "Festival of Lights", commemorates
the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. Chanukah is celebrated for
8 days during which one additional candle is added to the menorah on each
night of the holiday.
Chap a gang! - Beat it! (Lit., Catch a way, catch a road)
Chap ein a meesa meshina! - "May you suffer an ugly fate!"
Chap nit! - Take it easy! Not so fast! (Lit., Don't grab)
Chaptsem - Catch him!
Chassene - Wedding
Chassene machen - To plan and execute a wedding.
Chas v'cholileh! - G-d forbid!
Chavver - Friend
Chaye - Animal
Chazen - Cantor
Chazenteh - Wife of chazen (cantor)
Chazzer - A pig (one who eats like a pig)
Chazzerei - Swill; pig's feed; anything bad, unpalatable, rotten. In other
words, "junk food." This word can also be used to describe a lot of
house hold or other kinds of junk.
Chazzershtal - Pigpen; slovenly kept room or house.
Chei kuck (taboo) - Nothing, infinitesimal, worthless, unimportant (Lit., human dung)
Chev 'r' mann - Buddy
Chmalyeh! - Bang, punch; Slam! Wallop!
Chochem - A wise man (Slang: A wise guy)
Chochmeh - Wisdom, bright saying, witticism
Choleryeh - Cholera; a curse, plague
Choshever mentsh - Man of worth and dignity; elite person; respected person
Chosid - Rabid fan
Chossen - Bridegroom
Chossen-kalleh - Bride and groom; engaged couple
Choyzik machen - Make fun of, ridicule
Chrain - Horseradish
Chropen - Snore
Chub Rachmones - "Have pity"
Chug - Activity group
Chupah - Canopy under which a bride and groom stand during marriage ceremony.
Chutzpeh - Brazenness, gall, baitzim
Chutzpenik - Impudent fellow
Chvalye - Ocean wave
Columbus's medina - It's not what it's cracked up to be. (Columbus's
- Chai - Hebrew word for LIFE, comprised of the two Hebrew letters, Chet and
Yod. There is a sect of Jewish mysticism that assigns a numeric value to each
letter in the Hebrew alphabet and is devoted to finding hidden meanings in the
numeric values of words. The letter "Chet" has the numeric value of 8, and the
letter "Yod", has the value of 10, for a total of 18.
- Danken Got! - Thank G-d!
- Darf min gehn in kolledj? - For this I went to college? Usually said when
describing a menial task.
- Davenen - Pray
- Deigeh nisht! - Don't worry!
- Der mensch trakht un Gott lahkht - Man thinks (plans) and God laughs
- Der oyg - Eye
- Der tate oysn oyg - Just like his father
- Der universitet - University
- Der zokn - Old man
- Derech erets - Respect
- Derlebn - To live to see (I should only live to see him get married,
- Der oysdruk - Expression
- Dershtikt zolstu veren! - You should choke on it!
- Di khemye - Chemistry
- Di skeyne - Old woman
- Di Skeynes - Old women
- Di skeynim - Old men
- Die goldene medina - the golden country
- Die untershte sheereh - the bottom line
- Dine Essen teg - Yeshiva students would arrange to be fed by various
householders on a daily basis in different houses. (Lit., Eat days)
- Dingen - Bargain, hire, engage, lease, rent
- Dis fayntin shneg - It's starting to snow
- Dis fayntin zoraiganin - It's starting to rain
- Dos gefelt mir - This pleases me
- Dos hartz hot mir gezogt - My heart told me. I predicted it.
- Dos iz alts - That's all.
- Dos zelbeh - The same
- Drai mir nit kain kop! - Don't bother me! (Lit., Don't twist my head)
- Drai zich! - Keep moving!
- Draikop - Scatterbrain
- Dreidal - Spinning top used in a game that is associated with the holiday
- Drek - Human dung, feces, manure or excrement; inferior merchandise or work; insincere
talk or excessive flattery
- Drek auf dem teller - Mean spirited, valueless Lit.crap on a plate.
- Drek mit Leber - Absolutely nothing; it's not worth anything.
- Druchus - The sticks (way out in the wild)
- Du fangst shoyn on? - Are you starting up again?
- Du kannst nicht auf meinem rucken pishen unt mir sagen class es regen ist.
- You can't pee on my back and tell me that it's rain!
- Dumkop - Dumbbell, dunce (Lit., Dumb head)
- Durkhfall - A flop or failure
- Dybbuk - Soul condemned to wander for a time in this world because of its sins. (To
escape the perpetual torments inflicted upon it by evil spirits, the dybbuk seeks refuge
in the body of some pious man or woman over whom the demons have no power. The dybbuk is a
- Ech - A groan, a disparaging exclamation
- Ech mir (eppes) - Humorous, disparaging remark about anything. e.g.
"American Pie ech mir a movie?"
- Efsher - Maybe, could be
- Ei! Ei! - Yiddish exclamation equivalent to the English "Oh!"
- Eingeshpahrt - Stubborn
- Eingetunken - Dipped, dunked
- Einhoreh - The evil eye
- Eizel - Fool, dope
- Ek velt - End of the world
- Emes - The truth
- Emitzer - Someone
- Enschultig meir - "Well excuuuuuuse ME!" (Can also bu used in a
non-sarcastic manner depending on the tone of voice and situation.)
- Entoisht - Disappointed
- Eppes - Something
- Er bolbet narishkeiten - He talks nonsense
- Er drayt sich arum vie a fortz in russell - He wanders around like a fart
in a barrel (aimless)
- Er est vi noch a krenk. - He eats as if he just recovered from a sickness.
- Er frest vi a ferd. - He eats like a horse.
- Er hot a makeh. - He has nothing at all (Lit., He has a boil or a minor hurt.)
- Er hot nit zorg. - He hasn't got a worry.
- Er iz a niderrechtiker kerl! - He's a low down good-for-nothing.
- Er iz shoyn du, der nudnik! - The nuisance is here already!
- Er macht a tel fun dem. - He ruins it.
- Er toig (taig) nit - He's no good, worthless
- Er zitst oyf shpilkes. - He's restless. (Lit., He sits on pins and needles.)
- Er zol vaksen vi a tsibeleh, mit dem kop in drerd! - He should grow like an onion, with
his head in the ground!
- Eretz Yisroel - Land of Israel
- Es brent mir ahfen hartz. - I have a heartburn.
- Es gait nit! - It doesn't work! It isn't running smoothly!
- Es gefelt mir. - I like it. (Lit., It pleases, me.)
- Es hot zich oysgelohzen a boydem! - Nothing came of it! (Lit., There's nothing up there
but a small attic.)
- Es iz a shandeh far di kinder! - It's a shame for the children!
- Es iz (tsu) shpet. - It is (too) late.
- Es ken gemolt zein. - It is conceivable. It is imaginable.
- Es macht mir nit oys. - It doesn't matter to me.
- Es iz nit dayn gesheft - It's none of your business.
- Es past nit. - It is not becoming. It is not fitting.
- Es tut mir a groisseh hanoeh! - It gives me great pleasure!(often said sarcastically)
- Es tut mir bahng. - I'm sorry. (Lit., It sorrows me)
- Es tut mir vai - It hurts me.
- Es vert mir finster in di oygen. - This is a response to receiving
extremely upsetting information or news. (Lit., It's getting dark in my eyes.)
- Es vet gornit helfen! - Nothing will help!!
- Es vet helfen vi a toiten bahnkes! - It won't help (any)! (Lit., It will help like
blood-cupping on a dead body.)
- Ess vie ein foygl sheise vie ein feirt! - Eat like a bird, shit like a
- Ess, bench, sei a mensch - Eat, pray, don't act like a jerk!
- Ess gezunterhait - Eat in good health
- Essen - To eat
- Essen mitik - Eating midday or having dinner.