Fein: Brief Yiddish-English Glossary
Brief Yiddish-English Glossary
Reproduced in the FAST Website with the permission (1997/2000) of Michael D. Fein
See www.pass.to/glossary for an expanded version of the glossary


A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - K - L - M - N - O - P - S - T - Y

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A
  • A bisel - A little
  • A biseleh - A very little
  • A broch! - Oh hell! Damn it!! A curse!!!
  • A broch tsu dir! - A curse on you!
  • A brocheh - A blessing
  • 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!
  • 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 dir getrofen! - Big deal! Sarcastic; lit., A piece of luck happened to you
  • A klog iz mir! - Woe is me!
  • A klog tzu meineh somin! - A curse on my enemies!
  • A leben ahf dir! - You should live! And be well and have more!
  • 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 mentsh on glik is a toyter mensh - An unlucky person is a dead person.
  • A metsieh fun a ganef - It's a steal (Lit., A bargain from a thief.)
  • A nechtiker tog! - Forget it!
  • A nishtikeit! - A nobody!
  • A shandeh un a charpeh - A shame and a disgrace
  • A shtik naches - A great joy
  • A sof! A sof! - Let's end it ! End it!
  • Abi gezunt! - As long as you're healthy!
  • Achrahyes - Responsible
  • Ahf mir gezogt! - I wish it could be said about me!
  • Ahf tsores - In trouble
  • Ahntoisht - Disappointed
  • Ahzes ponim - Impudent fellow
  • Aidel - Cultured or finicky
  • Aidim - Son-in-law
  • Aiver butel - Absent minded; mixed up
  • Alaichem sholom - To you be peace
  • Alef-bais - Alphabet; the first two letters of the Jewish alphabet
  • Alevei! - It should happen to me (to you)!
  • Alteh moid - Spinster, old maid
  • Alteh bocher - Bachelor
  • Alter Kucker - A lecherous old man
  • An alteh machashaifeh - An old witch
  • An alter bakahnter - An old acquaintance
  • An alter trombenick - An old bum
  • Arein - Come in!
  • Arumgeflickt! - Plucked! Milked!
  • Arumloifer - Street urchin; person who runs around
  • Az a yor ahf mir. - I should have such good luck.
  • Az och un vai! - Touch 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!

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B

  • 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 humorous manner
  • Bagroben - To bury
  • Baitsim - Testicles
  • Balebatisheh yiden - Respectable Jews, men of substance and good standing in the community
  • Balhabosteh - Mistress of the house
  • Balnes - Miracle-worker
  • Bal Toyreh - Learned man, scholar
  • Bareden yenem - To gossip
  • Baren (taboo) - Fornicate: bother, annoy
  • Barimer - Braggart, show-off
  • Baroygis - Angry, petulant
  • Bashert - Fated or predestined
  • Bashert zein - To be destined
  • Behaimeh - Animal, cow (when referring to a human deing, means dull-witted)
  • Bentshen lecht - Recite prayer over lit candles on Sabbath eve or Holy Day candles
  • Beryeh - Efficient, competent housewife
  • Bes medresh - Synagogue
  • Billik - Cheap, inexpensive
  • Bist meshugeh? - Are you crazy?
  • Biteh - Please
  • Blondjen - To wander, be lost
  • Bobkes - Small things, triflings, peanuts, nothing, worthless
  • Bohmer - Bum (masc.)
  • Bohmerkeh - Bum (fem.)
  • Borsht - Beet soup
  • Borsht circuit - Hotels in the Catskill Mountain, New York area, with an almost entirely Jewish clientele, who are fond of borsht; term is used by entertainers
  • Bris - Circumcision
  • Bristen - Breasts
  • Broitgeber - Head of family
  • Bronfen - Whiskey
  • B'suleh - Virgin
  • Bubee - Friendly term for anybody you like
  • Bulvan - Man built like an ox; boorish, coarse, rude person

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C

  • Chaleshen - To faint
  • Chaloshes - Nausea, faintness, unconsciousness
  • Chamoyer du ainer! - You blockhead! You dope, You ass!
  • Chap a gang! - Beat it! (Lit., Catch a way, catch a road)
  • Chap nit! - Take it easy! Not so fast! (Lit., Don't grab)
  • Chas v'cholileh! - G-d forbid!
  • 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
  • Chei - Eighteen; life; word formed by the combination of Hebrew letters meaning eighteen and life
  • Chei kuck (taboo) - Nothing, infinitesimal, worthless, unimportant (Lit., human dung)
  • Chmalyeh! - Bang, punch; Slam! Wallop!
  • Chochem attick - 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
  • Chropen - Snore
  • Chupah - Canopy under which a bride and groom stand during marriage ceremony.
  • Chutzpeh - Brazenness, gall, baitzim
  • Chutzpenik - Impudent fellow
  • Cristiyah - Enema

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D

  • Danken Got! - Thank G-d!
  • Davenen - Pray
  • Deigeh nisht! - Don't worry!
  • Derech erets - Respect
  • Dershtikt zolstu veren! - You should choke on it!
  • Dingen - Bargain, hire, engage, lease, rent
  • 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 - Likewise
  • Drai mir nit kain kop! - Don't bother me! (Lit., Don't twist my head)
  • Drai zich! - Keep moving!
  • Draikop - Scatterbrain
  • Drek - Human dung, feces, manure or excrement; inferior merchandise or work; insincere talk or excessive flattery
  • Druchus - The sticks (way out in the wild)
  • Du fangst shoyn on? - Are you starting up again?
  • Dumkop - Dumbbell, dunce (Lit., Dumb head)
  • Dybbuk - Soul condemned to wander for a time in this world because of it's sins. (To escape the perpetual torments inflicted upon it by evil spirits, the dybbul seeks refuge in the body of some pious man or woman over whom the demons have no power. The dybbuk is a Cabalistic conception)

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E

  • Ech - A groam, a disparaging exclamation
  • 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
  • Er bolbet narishkeiten - He talks nonsense
  • 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 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 past nit. - Is 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. - I am fainting! (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 gezunterhait - Eat in good health
  • Essen mitik - Dine
  • Essen teg - Yeshiva students would arrange to be fed by various householders on a daily basis in different houses. (Lit., Eat days)

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F

  • Faigelah - Bird (also used as a derogatory reference to a gay person).
  • Fantazyor - Man who builds castles in the air
  • Farbissener - Embittered; bitter person
  • Farblondzhet - Lost, bewildered, confused
  • Farblujet - Bending your ear
  • Fardeiget - Distressed, worried, full of care, anxiety
  • Fardinen a mitzveh - Earn a blessing or a merit (by doing a good deed)
  • Fardrai zich dem kop! - Go drive yourself crazy!
  • Fardross - Disappointment, sorrow
  • Farfolen - Lost
  • Farfoylt - Mildewed, rotten, decayed
  • Farfroyren - Frozen
  • Farkuckt (taboo) - Dungy, shitty
  • Farmach dos moyl! - Shut up! Quiet. (Lit., Shut your mouth.)
  • Farmatert - Tired
  • Farmisht - Befuddled
  • Farmutshet - Worn out, fatigued, exhausted
  • Farshlepteh krenk - Fruitless, endless matter (Lit., A sickness that hangs on)
  • Farshmeieter - Highly excitable person; always on the go
  • Farshnoshket - Loaded, drunk
  • Farshtaist? - You understand?
  • Farshtopt - Stuffed
  • Farshtunken - Smeels bad, stinks
  • Farshvitst - sweaty
  • Far-tshadikt - Confused, bewildered, befuddled, as if by fumes, gas
  • Feinkochen- Omelet, scrambled eggs
  • Feinshmeker - Hi falutin'
  • Ferd - Horse, (slang) a fool
  • Fet - Fat, obese
  • Finster un glitshik - Miserable (Lit., Dark and slippery)
  • Fisfinger - Toes
  • Focha - Fan
  • Foigel - Smart guy
  • Foiler - Lazy man
  • Folg mich! - Obey me!
  • Fonfen - Speak through the nose
  • For gezunterhait! - Bon voyage! Travel in good health!
  • Forshpeiz - Appetizer
  • Fortz - Fart
  • Frageh - Question
  • Frailech - Happy
  • Frassk - Slap in the face
  • Freint - Friend, Mr.
  • Fremder - Stranger
  • Fress - Eat....pig out.
  • Fressen - Eat like a pig, devour
  • Fressing - Gourmandizing (By adding the English suffix "ing" to the Yiddish word "fress", a new English word in the vocabulary of American Jews has been created.)
  • Froy - Woman, Mrs.
  • Frum, (frimer) - Pious, religious, devout
  • Funfeh - Speaker's fluff, error

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G

  • Gai avek! - Go away
  • Gai feifen ahfen yam! - Go peddle your fish elsewhere!
  • Gai gezunterhait! - Go in good health
  • Gai in drerd arein! - Go to hell!
  • Gai kucken ahfen yam! - Get lost
  • Gai platz! - Go split your guts!
  • Gai shlog dein kup en vant! - Go bang your head against the wall
  • Gai shoyn, gai. - Scram! also, Don't be silly!
  • Gai strasheh di vantzen - You don't frighten me! (Lit., Go threaten the bed bugs)
  • Gai tren zich. (taboo) - Go fuck yourself
  • Gait, gait! - Come now!
  • Gait es nit! - It doesn't work!
  • Galitsianer - Jewish native of Galicia
  • Ganef - Crook, thief, burglar, swindler, racketeer
  • Gatns gut - Quite well
  • Gantseh megilleh - Big deal! (derisive)
  • Gantser k'nacker! - Big shot!
  • Gantser mentsh - Manly, a whole man, a complete man; an adult; a fellow who assumes airs
  • Gatkes - Long winter underwear
  • Geben shoychad - To bribe
  • Gebentsht mit kinder - Blessed with children
  • Gebrenteh tsores - Utter misery
  • Gebrochener english - Fractured English
  • Gedainkst? - Remember?
  • Geferlech - Dangerous
  • Geharget zolstu veren! - Drop dead! (Lit., You should get killed.)
  • Gelaimter - Person who drops whatever he touches
  • Gelibteh - Beloved
  • Gelt - Money
  • Gelt gait tzu gelt. - Money goes to money.
  • Gembeh! - Big mouth!
  • Gemitlich - Slowly, unhurried, gently
  • Genaivisheh shtiklech - Tricky, sharp, crooked actions or doings
  • Genug iz genug. - Enough is enough!
  • Gesheft - Business
  • Geshmak - Tasty, delicious
  • Geshtroft - Cursed, accursed; punished
  • Geshvollen - Swollen, puffed up (Also applied to person with haughty pride)
  • Get - Divorce
  • Gevaldikeh Zach! - A terrible thing! (often ironically)
  • Gezunteh moid! - Brunhilde, a big healthy dame
  • Gezunt vi a ferd - Strong as a horse
  • Gezunterhait - In good health
  • Gib mir nit kain einorah! - Don't give me a canary! (Americanism, Lit., Don't give me an evil eye)
  • Gib zich a traisel - Get a move on
  • Gleichvertel - Wisecrack, pun, saying, proverb, bon mot, witticism
  • Glezel tai - Glass of tea
  • Glick - Luck, piece of luck
  • Gloib mir! - Believe me!
  • G'nossen tsum emess! - The sneeze confirmed the truth!
  • Goldeneh chasseneh - Fiftieth wedding anniversary
  • Gornisht - Nothing
  • Got in himmel! - G-d in heaven! (said in anguish, despair, fear or frustration)
  • Got tsu danken - Thank G-d
  • Got zol ophiten! - G-d forbid!
  • Gotteniu! - Oh G-d! (anguished cry)
  • Goy - Any person who is not Jewish
  • Goyeh - Gentile woman
  • Goyim - Group of non-Jewish persons
  • Greps - Blech; a burp if it's a mild one
  • Grob - Coarse, crude, profane, rough, rude
  • Grober - Coarse, uncouth, crude person
  • Grois-halter - Show-off, conceited person
  • Groisseh gedilleh! - Big deal! (said sarcastically)
  • Groisser gornisht - Big good-for-nothing
  • Groisser potz! (taboo) - Big penis! Big prick! (deragatory or sarcastic)
  • Gut far him! - Serves him right!
  • G'vir - Rich man

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H

  • Haimish ponem - A friendly face
  • Haiseh vanneh - Hot bath
  • Haken a tsheinik - Boring, long-winded and annoying conversation; talking for the sake of talking (Lit., To bang on the tea-kettle)
  • Hak flaish - Chopped meat
  • Hak mir nit in kop! - Stop bending my ear (Lit.; Stop banging on my head)
  • Halevei! - If only...
  • Hamoyn - Common people
  • Handlen - To bargain; to do business
  • Hartsvaitik - Heart ache
  • Heizel - Whorehouse
  • Hekdish - Decrepit place, a slumhouse, poorhouse; a mess
  • Heldish - Brave
  • Hert zich ein! - Listen here!
  • Hetsken zich - Shake and dance with joy
  • Hikevater - Stammerer
  • Hinten - Rear, rear parts, backside, buttocks; in the rear
  • Hit zich! - Look out!
  • Hitsik - Hothead
  • Hitskop - Excitable person
  • Hob derech erets - Have respect
  • Hob nit kain deiges - Don't worry
  • Hoben tsu zingen un tsu zogen - Have no end of trouble (Lit.,To sing and to talk)
  • Hoizer gaier - Beggar
  • Hoizirer - Peddler (from house to house)
  • Holishkes - Stuffed Cabbage
  • Host du bie mir an avleh! - So I made a mistake. So what!
  • Hulyen - A hellraiser

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I

  • Ich bin ahntoisht - I am disapointed
  • Ich bin dich nit mekaneh - I don't envy you
  • Ich darf es ahf kapores - It's good for nothing! I have no use for it. (Lit., I need it for a [useless] fowl sacrifice)
  • Ich darf es vi a loch in kop! - I need it like a hole in the head!
  • Ich eil zich (nit) - I am (not) in a hurry
  • Ich feif oif dir! - I despise you! Go to the devil! (Lit., I whistle on you!)
  • Ich hob dir! - Drop dead! Go flap you ears! (Lit., I have you....!) (Americanisn!)
  • Ich hob dich in bod! - To hell with you! (Lit., I have you in the bath house!)
  • Ich hob es in drerd! - To hell with it
  • Ich hob im feint - I hate him
  • Ich hob im in bod! - To hell with him
  • Ich vais - I know
  • Ich vais nit. - I don't know.
  • Ich vel dir geben kadoches! - I'll give you nothing! (Lit., I'll give you malaria or a fever.)
  • Ich yog zich nit. - I'm not in a hurry.
  • Ich zol azoy vissen fun tsores. - I should know as little about trouble (as I know about what you are asking me).
  • Iker - Substance; people of substance
  • In a noveneh - For a change; once in a blue moon
  • In di alteh guteh tseiten! - In the good old days!
  • In drerd mein gelt! - My money went down the drain! (Lit., My money went to burial in the earth, to hell.)
  • In miten drinen - In the middle of; suddenly
  • Ipish - Bad odor, stink
  • Ir gefelt mir zaier. - You please me a great deal.
  • Iz brent mir ahfen hartz. - I have a heartburn.

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K

  • Kaas (in kaas oyf) - Angry (with)
  • Kabaret forshtelung - Floorshow
  • Kabtzen, kaptsen - Pauper
  • Kaddish - A mourner's prayer
  • Kaddishel - Baby son; endearing term for a boy or man (Derived from word "kaddish" which is a prayer for the dead that only males recite)
  • Kadoches - Fever
  • Kadoches mit koshereh fodem! - Absolutely nothing! (Lit., fever with a kosher thread)
  • Kaftan - Long coat worn by religious Jews
  • Kain ein horeh - No evil eye! (Some say "don't give me a canary";
  • Kakapitshi - Conglomeration
  • Kalamutneh - Dreary, gloomy, troubled
  • Kalleh moid - A girl of marriageable age
  • Kallehniu - Little bride
  • Kalyekeh - Cripple; misfit; also, anybody not good at their craft or sport
  • Kalyeh - Bad, wrong, spoiled
  • Kam derlebt - Narrowly achieved (Lit., hardly lived to see)
  • Kam mit tsores! - Barely made it! (Lit., with some troubles) The word "Kam," also is pronounced "Kom" or "Koim" depending on the region people come from.
  • Kam vos er kricht - Barley able to creep; Mr. Slowpoke
  • Kam vos er lebt - He's hardly (barely) alive.
  • Kamtsoness - To be miserly
  • Kaneh - An enema
  • Kaporeh, (kapores) - Atonement sacrifice; forgiveness; (slang) good for nothing
  • Karabelnick - Country peddler
  • Karger - Miser, tightwad
  • Kasheh - Groats, mush cereal, buckwheat, porridge; a mess, mix-up, confusion
  • Kasheh varnishkes - Cooked groats and broad (or bowtie) noodles
  • Kashress - Kosher condition; Jewish religious dietary law
  • Kasnik, (keisenik) - Angry person; excitable person, hot head
  • Kasokeh - Cross-eyed
  • Katshkedik (Americanism) - Ducky, swell, pleasant
  • Katzisher kop - Forgetful (Lit., Cat head)
  • Kazatskeh - Lively Russian dance
  • Kemfer - Fighter (usually for a cause)
  • Ken zein - Maybe, could be
  • (To) Kibbitz - To offer unsolicited advice as a spectator
  • Kibbitzer - Meddlesome spectator
  • Kiddish (Borai pri hagofen) - Blessing over wine on the eve of Sabbath or Festivals
  • Kimpet-tzettel - Childbirth amulet or charm (from the German "kind-bet-tzettel" meaning childbirth label containing Psalm 121, names of angels, patriarchs
  • Kimpetoren - Woman in labour or immediately after the delivery
  • Kind un kait - Young and old
  • Kinderlech - Diminutive, affectionate term for children
  • Kishef macher - Magic-worker
  • Kishkeh - Stuffed derma (Sausage shaped, stuffed with a mixture of flour, onions, salt, pepper and fat to keep it together, it is boiled, roasted and sliced)
  • (A) Kitsel - Tickle
  • Klainer gornisht - Little prig (Lit., A little nothing)
  • Klemt beim hartz - Clutches at my heartstrings
  • Klaperkeh - Talkative woman
  • Klipeh - Gabby woman, shrew, a female demon
  • Klogmuter - Complainer, chronic complainer
  • (A) Klog iz mir! - Woe is me!
  • Klop - Bang, a real hard punch or wallop
  • Klotz (klutz) - Ungraceful, awkward, clumsy person; bungler
  • Klotz kasheh - Foolish question; fruitless question
  • Kloymersht - Not in reality, pretended (Lit., as if it were)
  • K'nacker - A big shot
  • K'naidel (pl., k'naidlech) - Dumplings usually made of matzoh meal, cooked in soup
  • K'nippel - Button, knot; hymen, virginity; money tied in a knot in a handkerchief
  • K'nish (taboo) - Vagina
  • K'nishes - Baked dumplings filled with potato, meat, liver or barley
  • Kochalain - Summer boarding house with cooking privileges (Lit., cook by yourself)
  • Kochedik - Petulant, excitable
  • Kochleffel - One who stirs up trouble; gadabout, busy-body (Lit., a cooking ladle)
  • Kolboynik - Rascally know-it-all
  • (A) Kop oif di plaitses! - Good, common sense! (Lit., A head on the shoulders!)
  • Kopvaitik - Headache
  • Kosher - Jewish dietary laws based on "cleanliness". Also referring to the legitimacy of a situation. "This plan doesn't seem kosher".
  • Koved - Respect, honour, reverence, esteem
  • Krank - Sick
  • Krank-heit - Sickness
  • Krassavitseh - Beauty, a doll, beautiful woman
  • Krechts - Groan, moan
  • Krechtser - Blues singer, a moaner
  • Kreplach - Small pockets of dough filled with chopped meat which look like ravioli, or won ton, and are eaten in soup; (slang) nothing, valueless
  • Kroivim - Relatives
  • Kuck im on (taboo) - Defecate on him! The hell with him!
  • Kuck zich oys! (taboo) - Go take a shit for yourself!
  • Kugel - Pudding
  • Kuk im on! - Look at him!
  • Kumen tsu gast - To visit
  • Kuntzen - Tricks
  • Kunyehlemel - Naive, clumsy, awkward person; nincompoop; Casper Milquetoast
  • Kurveh - Whore, prostitute
  • Kush in toches arein! (taboo) - Kiss my behind! (said to somebody who is annoying you)
  • Kushinyerkeh - Cheapskate; woman who comes to a store and asks for a five cents' worth of vinegar in her own bottle
  • K'vatsh - Boneless person, one lacking character; a whiner, weakling
  • K'velen - Glow with pride and happiness, beam; be delighted
  • K'vetsh - Whine, complain; whiner, a complainer
  • K'vitsh - Shriek, scream, screech

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L

  • Lachen mit yash-tsherkes - Forced or false laugh; laugh with anguish
  • Laidik-gaier - Idler, loafer
  • Lamden - Scholar, erudite person, learned man
  • Lang leben zolt ir! - Long may you live!
  • Lantsman - Countryman, neighbour, fellow townsman from "old country".
  • Lapeh - Big hand
  • (A) Lebedikeh velt! - A lively world!
  • (A) Lebediker - Lively person
  • (A) Leben ahf dein kop! - Words of praise like; Well said! Well done! (Lit., A long life upon your head.)
  • Lebst a chazerishen tog! - Living high off the hog!
  • L'chei-im, le'chayim! - To life! (the traditional Jewish toast); To your health, skol
  • Leibtzudekel - Sleeveless shirt (like bib) with fringes, worn by orthodox Jews
  • Leiden - To suffer
  • Lemeshkeh - Milquetoast, bungler
  • Leveiyeh - Funeral
  • Lig in drerd! - Get lost! Drop dead! (Lit., Bury yourself!)
  • Ligner - Liar
  • Litvak - Lithuanian; Often used to connote shrewdness and skepticism, because the Lithuanian Jews are inclined to doubt the magic powers of the Hasidic leaders; Also, a person who speaks with the Northeastern Yiddish accent.
  • Loch - Hole
  • Loch in kop - Hole in the head.
  • Lokshen - Noodles
  • Loz mich tzu ru! - Leave me alone! (Lit., Let me be in peace!)
  • Luftmentsh - Person who has no business, trade, calling, nor income.
  • Luch in kup - A hole in the head ( " I need this like a luch in kup").

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M

  • Machareikeh - Gimmick, contraption
  • Macher - big shot, person with access to authorities, man with contacts.
  • Magilla - Long story
  • Maidel - Unmarried girl, teenager
  • Maideleh - Little girl (affectionate term)
  • Maiven - Expert, connoisseur, authority
  • Makeh - Plague, wound, boil, curse
  • Mamoshes - Substance, people of substance.
  • Manzer - Bastard, disliked person, untrustworthy
  • Mashgiach - Inspector, overseer or supervisor of Kashruth in restaurants & hotels.
  • Mashugga - Crazy
  • Mazel Tov - Good Luck
  • Me ken brechen! - You can vomit from this!
  • Me ken lecken di finger! - It's delicious!
  • Me lost nit leben! - They don't let you live!
  • Me redt zich oys dos hartz! - Talk your heart out!
  • Mecheieh - A great pleasure
  • Mein bobbeh's ta'am - Bad taste! Old fashioned taste!
  • Mein cheies gait oys! - I'm dying for it!
  • Mekler - Go-between
  • Menner vash tsimmer - Men's room
  • Mentsh - A special man or person. One who can be respected.
  • Meshpucha - Extended family
  • Meshugass - Madness, insanity, craze
  • Meshugeh - Crazy
  • Meshugeh ahf toit! - Crazy as a loon. Really crazy!
  • Meshugeneh - Mad, crazy, insane female.
  • Meshugener - Mad, crazy, insane man
  • Me zogt - They say; it is said.
  • Mies - Ugly
  • Mieskeit - Ugly thing or person.
  • Mikveh - Ritual bath used by women just prior to marriage as well as after each monthy cycle. This tradition coincides with the belief that women are not considered to be clean due to menstruation. The practice has been more or less abandoned with the exception of the ultra-orthodox members of the Jewish religion
  • Minyan - Quorum of ten men necessary for holding public worship (must be over 13 years of age)
  • Mirtsishem - G-d willing
  • Mitten derinnen - All of a sudden, suddenly
  • Mitzvah - Good deed
  • Mogen Dovid - Star of David
  • Moisheh kapoyer - Mr. Upside-Down! A person who does everything backwards
  • Mosser - Squealer
  • Moyel - Person (usually a rabbi) who performs circumcisions.
  • Mutek - Brave
  • Mutshen zich - To sweat out a job
  • Muttelmessig - Meddlesome person, kibbitzer

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N

  • Na! - Here! Take it. There you have it.
  • Naches - Joy: Gratification, especially from children.
  • Nacht falt tsu. - Night is falling; twilight
  • Nadan - Dowry
  • Nafkeh - Prostitute
  • Nafkeh bay-is - Whorehouse
  • Naidlechech - Rare thing
  • Nar - Fool
  • Nar ainer! - You fool, you!
  • Narish - Foolish
  • Narishkeit - Foolishness
  • Nebach - It's a pity. Unlucky, pitiable person.
  • Nebbish - A nobody, simpleton, weakling, awkward person
  • Nebechel - Nothing, a pitiful person; or playing role of being one
  • (A) Nechtiker tog! - He's (it's) gone! Forget it! Nonsense! (Lit., a yesterday's day)
  • Nem zich a vaneh! - Go take a bath! Go jump in the lake!
  • Neshomeh - Soul, spirit
  • Neshomeleh - Sweetheart, sweet soul
  • Nifter-shmifter, a leben macht er? - What difference does it make as long as he makes a living? (Lit., nifter means deceased.)
  • Nishkosheh - Not so bad, satisfactory. (This has nothing to do with the word "kosher", but comes from the Hebrew and means "hard, heavy," thus "not bad."
  • Nisht do gedacht! - It shouldn't happen! G-d forbid! (Lit., May we be saved from it! [sad event] )
  • Nishtgedeiget - Don't worry; doesn't worry
  • Nisht gefonfit! - Don't hedge. Don't fool around. Don't double-talk.
  • Nisht getrofen! - So I guessed wrong!
  • Nisht gut - Not good, lousy
  • Nisht naitik - Not necessary
  • Nishtgutnick - No-good person
  • Nishtikeit! - A nobody!
  • Nishtu gedacht! - It shouldn't happen! G-d forbid!
  • Nit kain farshloffener - A lively person
  • Nit ahin, nit aher - Neither here nor there
  • Nit gidacht! - It shouldn't happen! (Same as nishtu gedacht)
  • Nit gidacht gevorn. - It shouldn't come to pass.
  • Nit kosher - Impure food. Also, slang, anything not good
  • Nit heint, nit morgen! - Not today, not tomorrow!
  • Nito farvos! - You're welcome!
  • Noch nisht - Not yet
  • Nochshlepper - Hanger-on, unwanted follower
  • Nor Got vaist - Only G-d knows.
  • Nosh - Snack
  • Nosherie - Snack food
  • Nu? - So? Well?
  • Nu, shoyn! - Move, already! Hurry up! Let's go! Aren't you finished?
  • Nudnik - Pesty nagger, nuisance, a bore, obnoxious person
  • Nudje - Annoying person, badgerer (Americanism)
  • Nudjen - Badger, annoy persistently

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O

  • Ober yetzt? - So now? (Yetzt is also spelled itzt)
  • Obtshepen - Get rid of
  • Och un vai! - Alas and alack: woe be to it!
  • Oder a klop, oder a fortz (taboo) - Either too much or not enough (Lit., either a wallop or a fart)
  • Ohmain - Amen
  • Oi!! - Yiddish exclamation to denote disgust, pain, astonishment or rapture
  • Oi, a shkandal! - Oh, what a scandal!
  • Oi, gevald - Cry of anguish, suffering, frustration or for help
  • Oi, Vai! - Dear me! Expression of dismay or hurt
  • Oi vai iz mir! - Woe is me!
  • Oisgeshtrobelt! - Overdressed woman.
  • Oisgeshtrozelt - Decorated (beautiful)
  • Ois-shteler - Braggart
  • Oiver botel - Absentminded: getting senile
  • Okuratner mentsh - Orderly person
  • Olreitnik! - Nouveau riche!
  • On langeh hakdomes! - Cut it short! (Lit., without long introductions.)
  • Ongeblozzen - Conceited: peevish, sulky, pouting
  • Ongeblozzener - Stuffed shirt
  • Ongematert - Tired out
  • Ongepatshket - Cluttered, disordered, scribbled, sloppy, muddled, overly-done
  • Ongeshtopt - Very wealthy
  • Ongeshtopt mit gelt - Very wealthy; (Lit., stuffed with money)
  • Ongetrunken - Drunk
  • Ongetshepter - Bothersome hanger-on
  • Ongevarfen - Cluttered, disordered
  • Onshikenish - Hanger-on
  • Onshikenish - Pesty nagger
  • Onzaltsen - Giving you the business; bribe; soft-soap; sweet-talk (Lit., to salt)
  • Opgeflickt! - Done in! Suckered! Milked!
  • Opgehitener - Pious person
  • Opgekrochen - Shoddy
  • Opgekrocheneh schoireh - Shoddy merchandise
  • Opgelozen(er) - Careless dresser
  • Opgenart - Cheated, fooled
  • Opnarer - Trickster, shady operator
  • Opnarerei - Deception
  • Orehman - Poor man, without means
  • Oremkeit - Poverty
  • Oybershter in himmel - G-d in heaven
  • Oych a bashefenish - Also a V.I.P.! A big person! (said derogatorily, sarcastically, or in pity)
  • Oych mir a leben! - This too is a living! This you call a living?
  • Oyfen himmel a yarid! - Much ado about nothing! Impossible! (Lit., In heaven there's a big fair!)
  • Oyfgekumener - Come upper, upstart
  • Oys shiddech - The marriage is off!
  • Oysgedart - Skinny, emaciated
  • Oysgehorevet - Exhausted
  • Oysgematert - Tired out, worn out
  • Oysgemutshet - Worked to death, tired out
  • Oysgeputst - Dressed up, overdressed; overdecorated
  • Oysgeshprait - Spread out
  • Oysvurf - Outcast, bad person

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P

  • Paigeren zol er! - He should drop dead!
  • Pamelech - Slow, slowly
  • Parech - Low-life, a bad man
  • Parnosseh - Livelihood
  • Parshiveh - Mean, cheap
  • Parshoin - He-man
  • Partatshnek - Inferior merchandise or work
  • Parveh - Neutral food, neither milchidik (dairy) nor flaishidik (meat)
  • Paskudnik, paskudnyak - Ugly, revolting, evil person; nasty fellow
  • Past nit. - It isn't proper.
  • Patsh - Slap, smack on the cheek
  • Patshkies around - Anglicized characterization of one who wastes time.
  • Patteren tseit - To lounge around; waste time
  • Petseleh - Little penis
  • Phooey! fooey, pfui - Designates disbelief, distaste, contempt
  • Pipek - Navel, belly button
  • Pishechtz - Urine
  • Pisher - Male infant, a little squirt, a nobody
  • Pisk - Slang, for mouth; insultingly, it means a big mouth, loudmouth
  • Pisk-Malocheh - Big talker-little doer! (man who talks a good line but does nothing)
  • Pitshetsh - Chronic complainer
  • Pitsel - Wee, tiny
  • Pitsvinik - Little nothing
  • Plagen - Work hard, sweat out a job, suffer
  • Plagen zich - To suffer
  • Plaplen - Chatter
  • Plats! - Burst! Bust your guts out! Split your guts!!
  • Plyotkenitzeh - A gossip
  • Preplen - To mutter, mumble
  • Prietzteh - Princess; finicky girl; (having airs, giving airs; being snooty) prima donna!
  • Prost - Coarse, common, vulgar
  • Prostaches - Low class people
  • Prostak - Ignorant boor, coarse person, vulgar man
  • Prosteh leit - Simple people, common people; vulgar, ignorant, "low class" people
  • Proster mentsh - Vulgar man, common man
  • Ptsha - Cows feet in jelly
  • Punim - Face
  • Pupik - Navel, belly button, gizzard, chicken stomachs
  • Pupiklech - Dish of chicken gizzards
  • Pushkeh - Little box for coins
  • Pustunpasnik - Loafer, idler
  • Pyesseh - A play, drama

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S

  • Saichel - Common sense, good sense; tact, diplomacy
  • S'art eich? - What does it matter to you? Does it matter to you?
  • Se brent nit! - Don't get excited! (Lit., It's not on fire!)
  • Se shtinkt! - It stinks!
  • Se zol dir grihmen in boych! - You should get a stomach cramp!
  • Sha! (gently said) - Please keep quiet.
  • Shabbes goy - Someone doing the dirty work for others (Lit;, gentile doing work for a Jew on Sabbath)
  • Shadchen - Matchmaker or marriage broker; (There is the professional type who derives his living from it, but many Jewish women used to engage in matchmaking without compensation only from religious motives)
  • Shaigitz - Non-Jewish boy; wild Jewish boy
  • Shaigetz ainer! - Berating term for irreligious Jewish boy, one who flouts Jewish law
  • Shain vi di zibben velten - Beautiful as the seven worlds
  • Shaineh maidel - pretty girl
  • Shainer gelechter - Hearty laugh (sarcastically, Some laughter!)
  • Shainkeit - Beauty
  • Shaitel, (sheitel) - Wig (at the wedding the ultra-orthodox bride has her hair cut off and she wears a shaitel ever after)
  • Shalach mohnes - Customary gifts exchanges on Purim, usually goodies
  • Shalom - Peace (a watchword and a greeting)
  • Shammes - Sexton, beadle of the synagogue, also, the lighter taper used to light other candles on a menorah, a policeman (slang)
  • Shandhoiz - Brothel, whorehouse
  • Shat, shat! Hust! - Quiet! Don't get excited
  • Shatnes - Proscription against wearing clothes that are mixed of wool and linen
  • Shemevdik - Bashful, shy
  • Shepen naches - Enjoy; gather pleasure, draw pleasure, especially from children
  • Shidech (pl., shiduchim) - Match, marriage, betrothal
  • Shihi-pihi - Mere nothings
  • Shik-yingel - Messenger
  • Shikker - Drunkard
  • Shikseh - Non-Jewish girl
  • Shiva - Mourning period of seven days observed by family and friends of deceased
  • Shkapeh - A hag, a mare; worthless
  • Shkotz - Berating term for mischivous Jewish boy
  • Shlak - Apoplexy; a wretch, a miserable person; shoddy; shoddy merchandise
  • Shlang - Snake, serpent; a troublesome wife; penis (taboo)
  • Shlatten shammes - Communal busybody, tale bearer; messenger
  • Shlecht - Bad
  • Shlecht veib - Shrew (Lit., a bad wife)
  • Shlemiel - Clumsy bunglar, an inept person, butter-fingered; dopey person
  • Shlep - Drag, carry or haul, particularly unnecessary things, parcels or baggage; to go somewhere unwillingly or unwantedly
  • Shleppen - To drag, pull, carry, haul
  • Shlepper - Sponger, panhanddler, hanger-om; dowdy, gossipy woman, free-loader
  • Shlimazel - Luckless person. Unlucky person; one with perpetual bad luck (it is said that the shlemiel spills the soup on the shlimazel!)
  • Shlog zich kop in vant. - Break your own head! (Lit., bang your head on the wall)
  • Shlog zich mit Got arum! - Go fight City Hall! (Lit., Go fight with God.)
  • Shlogen - To beat up
  • Shlok - A curse; apoplexy
  • Shlosser - Mechanic
  • Shlub - A jerk; a foolish, stupid or unknowing person, second rate, inferior.
  • Shlump - Careless dresser, untidy person; as a verb, to idle or lounge around
  • Shlumperdik - Unkempt, sloppy
  • Shmaltz - Grease or fat; (slang) flattery; to sweet talk, overly praise, dramatic
  • Shmaltzy - Sentimental, corny
  • Shmatteh - Rag, anything worthless
  • Shmeis - Bang, wallop
  • Shmek tabik - Nothing of value (Lit., a pinch of snuff)
  • Shmeer - The business; the whole works; to bribe, to coat like butter
  • Shmegegi - Buffoon, idiot, fool
  • Shmeichel - To butter up
  • Schmeikel - To swindle, con, fast-talk.
  • Shmendrik - nincompoop; an inept or indifferent person; same as shlemiel
  • Shmo(e) - Naive person, easy to deceive; a goof (Americanism)
  • Shmok (taboo) - Self-made fool; obscene for penis: derisive term for a man
  • Shmontses -Trifles, folly
  • Shmooz; (shmuess) - Chat, talk
  • Shmulky! - A sad sack!
  • Shmuts - Dirt, slime
  • Shmutzik - Dirty, soiled
  • Shnapps - Whiskey, same as bronfen
  • Shnecken - Little fruit and nut coffee rolls
  • Shneider - Tailor; in gin rummy card game, to win game without opponent scoring
  • Shnell - Quick, quickly
  • Shnook - A patsy, a sucker, a sap, easy-going, person easy to impose upon, gullible
  • Shnorrer - A beggar who makes pretensions to respectability; sponger, a parasite
  • Shnur - Daughter-in-law
  • Shoymer - Watchman; historically refers also to the armed Jewish watchman in the early agricultural settlements in the Holy Land
  • Shoymer mitzves - Pious person
  • Shoyn ainmol a' metsei-eh! - Really a bargain
  • Shoyn fargessen? - You have already forgotten?
  • Shoyn genug! - That's enough!
  • Shpilkes - Pins and needles
  • Shpitsfinger - Toes
  • Shpogel nei - Brand-new
  • Shreklecheh zach - A terrible thing
  • Shtark, shtarker - Strong, brave
  • Shtark gehert - Smelled bad (used only in reference to food; Lit., strongly heard)
  • Shtark vi a ferd - Stong as a horse
  • Shav - Cold spinach soup, sorrel grass soup, sour leaves soup
  • Shtik - Piece, bit: a special bit of acting
  • Shtik drek (taboo) - Piece of shit; shit-head
  • Shtik goy - Idiomatic expression for one inclined to heretical views, or ingnorance of Jewish religious values
  • Shtik naches - Grandchild, child, or relative who gives you pleasure; a great joy
  • Stikel - Small bit or piece; a morsel
  • Shtiklech - Tricks; small pieces
  • Shtilinkerait - Quietly
  • Shtoltz - Pride; unreasonably and stubbornly proud, excessive self-esteem
  • Shtrudel - Sweet cake made of paper-thin dough rolled up with various fillings
  • (A) Shtunk - A guy who doesn't smell too good; a stink (bad odor) a lousy human
  • Shtup - Push, shove; vulgarism for sexual intercourse
  • Shtup es in toches! (taboo) - Shove (or stick) it up your rectum (ass)!
  • Shul - Colloquial Yiddish for synagogue
  • Shule - School
  • Shushkeh - A whisper; an aside
  • Shutfim - Associates
  • Shvachkeit - Weakness
  • Shvegerin - Sister-in-law
  • Shvengern - Be pregnant
  • Shver - Father-in-law; heavy, hard, difficult
  • Shviger - Mother-in-law
  • Shvindel - Fraud, deception, swindle
  • Shvindeldik - Dizzy, unsteady
  • Shvitz bod - Steam bath
  • Shvoger - Brother-in-law
  • Sidder - Jewish prayer book for weekdays and Saturday
  • Simcheh - Joy; also refers to a joyous occasioin
  • Sitzfleish - Patience that can endure sitting (Lit., sitting flesh)
  • Smetteneh - Sour cream; Cream
  • Sof kol sof - Finally
  • S'teitsh! - Listen! Hold on! How is that? How is that possible? How come?
  • Strasheh mich nit! - Don't threaten me!

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T

  • Ta'am - Taste, flavor; good taste
  • Tahkeh - Really! Is that so? Certainly!
  • Tahkeh a metsieh - Really a bargain! (usually said with sarcasm)
  • Taiglech - Small pieces of baked dough or little cakes dipped in honey
  • Tallis - Rectangular prayer-shawl to whose four corners, fringes are attached
  • Talmud - The complete treasury of Jewish law interpreting the Torah into livable law
  • Talmud Torah - The commandment to study the Law; an educational institution for orphans and poor children, supported by the community; in the United States, a Hebrew school for children
  • Tandaitneh - Inferior
  • Tararam - Big noise, big deal
  • Tashlich - Ceremony of the casting off of sins on the Jewish New Year (crumbs of bread symbolizing one's sins are cast away into a stream of water in the afternoon of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashoneh)
  • Tateh, tatteh, tatteh, tatteleh, tatinka, tatteniu - Father, papa, daddy, pop
  • Tateh-mameh, papa-mama - Parents
  • Tatenui - Father dear (The suffix "niu" in Yiddish is added for endearing intimacy; also, God is addressed this way by the pious; Tateniu-Foter means God, our Father
  • Teier - Dear, costly, expensive
  • Tei-yerinkeh! - Sweetheart, dearest
  • Temp - Dolt
  • Temper kop - Dullard
  • T'noim - Bethrothal, engagement
  • Toches - Buttocks, behind, fanny (ass)
  • Toches ahfen tish! - Put up or shut up! Let's conclude this! (Lit., Asses on the table!)
  • Toches-lecker - Brown-noser, apple-polisher, ass-kisser
  • Togshul - Day school
  • Toig ahf kapores! - Good for nothing! It's worth nothing!
  • Traif - Forbidden food, impure, contrary to the Jewish dietary laws, non-kosher
  • Traifener bain - Jew who does not abide by Jewish law (derisive, scornful expression
  • Traifeneh bicher - Forbidden literature
  • Traifnyak - Despicable person; on who eats non-kosher food
  • Trenen - To tear, rip
  • Trogedik - Pregnant
  • Trog gezunterhait! - Wear it in good health!
  • Trombenik - A bum, no-good person, ne'er-do-well; a faker
  • Tsaddik - Pious, righteous person
  • Tsatskeh - Doll, plaything; something cute; an overdressed woman; a sexy girl
  • Tsatskeleh der mamehs! - Mother's favorite! Mother's pet!
  • Tsebrech a fus! - Break a leg!
  • Tsedokeh - Spirit of philantrophy; charity, benevolence
  • Tsedrait - Nutty, crazy, screwy
  • Tsedraiter kop - Bungler
  • Tsemisht - Confused, befuddled, mixed-up
  • Tshatshki - Toy, doo-dad; pretty girl
  • Tshepen - To annoy, irk, plague, bother, attack unwantedly
  • Tsevishen-shtotisheh telefonistkeh - Long distance operator
  • Tsegait zich in moyl - It melts in the mouth, delicious, yummy-yummy
  • Tsemishnich - Confusion
  • Tsiklen zich - The cantor's ecstatic repetition of a musical phrase
  • Tsimmes - Sweet carrot compote; (slang) a major issue made out of a minor event
  • Tsitskeh - Breast, teat, udder
  • Tsnueh - Chaste
  • Tsores - Troubles, misery
  • Tsutsheppenish - Hanger-on; unwanted companion; pest; nuisance
  • Tsum glik, tsum shlimazel - For better, for worse
  • Tu mir a toiveh. - Do me a favor.
  • Tu mir nit kain toives. - Don't do me any favors.
  • Tumel - Confusion, noise, uproar
  • Tumler - A noise-maker (person); an agitator
  • Tut vai dos harts - Heartbroken
  • Tzitzis - Fringes attached to the four corners of the tallis
  • Tzufil! - Too much! Too costly!

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Y

  • Yachneh - A coarse, loud-mouthed woman; a gossip; a slattern
  • Yachsen - Man of distinguished lineage, highly connected person, privileged character
  • Yarmelkeh - Traditional Jewish skull cap, usually worn during prayers; worn at all times by observant Orthodox Jews.
  • Yashir koyech - May your strength continue
  • Yatebedam - A man who threatens; one who thinks he's a "big shot"; a blusterer
  • Yedies - News; cablegrams; announcements
  • Yefayfiyeh - Beauty; woman of great beauty
  • Yenems - Someone else's; (the brand of cigarettes moochers smoke!)
  • Yeneh velt - The other world; the world to come
  • Yenteh - Gaggy, talkative woman; female blabbermouth
  • Yentzen (taboo) - To fornicate, to whore
  • Yeshiveh - Jewish traditional higher school, talmudical academy
  • Yeshiveh bocher - Student of talmudic academy
  • Yeshuvnik - Farmer, rustic
  • Yichus - Pedigree, ancestry, family background, nobility
  • Yiddisher kop - Jewish head
  • Yingeh tsats-keh! - A young doll! A living doll!
  • Yiskor - Prayer in commemoration of the dead (Lit., May God remember.)
  • Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement (the most holy of holy days of the Jewish calendar)
  • Yontefdik - Festive, holiday-ish; sharp (referring to clothes)
  • Yortseit - Anniversary of the day of death of parents or relatives; yearly remembrance
  • Yoysher - Justice, fairness, integrity
  • Yukel - Buffoon
  • (A) Yung mit bainer! - A powerhouse! Strongly built person
  • Yung un alt - Young and old
  • Yungatsh - Street-urchin, scamp, young rogue
  • Yungermantshik - A young, vigorous lad; A newlywed


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Last Updated 06 May 2010