The 100 Yiddish Words Everyone Should Know

Introduction.

RELIGION


Daven: Pray
Frum: Pious
Get: Divorce
Peyes: Earlocks
Shul: Synagogue/school


PEOPLE


Balabusta: Homemaker
Bubbeleh: Little darling
Dybbuk: An evil spirit
Goniff: A thief
Goy: A non-Jew
Knocker: A big shot
Landman: A countryman, a fellow Jew
Makher: A big shot
Maven: An expert
Mensch: A stand-up guy
Pisher: A squirt
Schnorrer: Beggar
Shikse: A non-Jewish woman
Tummler: An MC.
Yente: An old busybody


INSULTS


Alter kocker: Old fart
Klutz: A clumsy person
Mamzer: Bastard
Nudnik: A pain in the neck
Putz: Penis, jerk
Schlimeil/Schlimazl: Two types of sad sacks
Shlump: A bedraggled, depressing person
Shmeggegge: An idler
Schmendrik: Ineffectual person
Schmo: Nobody
Schmuck: Penis, jerk
Yutz: Jerk


FOOD


Chazerai: Junk food
Ess/Fress: The difference between eating like a human and eating like an animal
Nosh: Snack, also slang for oral sex
Schmaltz: Chicken fat, excessive sentimentality
Schmear: A spread


FAMILY


Bubbe: Grandmother
Kinder: Children
Mame: Mother
Mishpokhe: Family
Tate: Father
Zayde: Grandfather
Yikhus: Family tree


ACTIVITIES



Futz: Fiddle around
Kibbitz: Gossip, give unwanted advice
Kvetch: Complain
Nudge: To pester; also a pest or a whiner
Plotz: To burst
Potch: A smack
Schmooze: To talk
Shlep: Drag, a chore
Shtup: Have sex
Schvitz: Sweat
Tsimmes: A fuss
Zetz: A strong blow or punch


THINGS


Bupkiss: Nothing
Gelt: money
Keyn Ora: Evil eye
Klezmer: Uptempo folk music
Mama-loschen: Yiddish
Mazume: Money
Megilla: The whole big story
Mish-mosh: Mess
Pushke: Piggy bank, collections box
Schmutz: Dirt
Schmatta: Rag, newspaper
Shpiel: A sales pitch
Shtetl: Small town
Shtick: A bit, a routine
Tchotchke: A trinket


BODY PARTS


Kishke: Guts
Punim: The face
Pupik: The bellybutton, the stomach
Tuchas: the butt


EXPRESSIONS


Feh!: The hell with it!
Gesundheit: God bless you
Gevalt!: An expression of shock
Halevai: Would that it be so
Mazel Tov: Congratulations
Nebbekh: Poor guy, poor thing, a pity
Nu: So?
Oy: Oh!
Scholem Aleikhem: Hello


EMOTIONS AND MENTAL STATES


Chutzpa: Nerve
Kvell: To well up with emotion
Meshuga: Crazy
Nachas: Pride, contentment
Shande: Disgrace
Shikker: Drunk
Shpilkes: Nervous energy
Tusris: Trouble
Verklempt: Choked with emotion


ADJECTIVES


Dreck: Junk
Eppes: A little bit
Farbisn: Bitter
Farkahkt: Shitty
Heimish: Homey
Schlock: Trash
Zaftig: Full-figured

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