The Yiddisha Primer
Phonetics Definition Sample Use
ash un porekh destroy He'll make ashen porach out of that report!
bob(kes) beans, nothing He gave me babkes.
bobe a "tall" story That story was no bobbe myse.
farkatk(e) lousy, ridiculous That's a facacta idea.
farklempt bummed out, bad mood She looks very ferklempt.
farbisine bitter Don't be so forbissima.
farblondzhet all mixed up I got all furblungit.
gey shlofn go to sleep Gay schloffing!
gelt money I got a lot of gelt for Hanukah.
genuk enough I've had genoog out of you today!
glik happiness Glick in the office makes for glick
in the home.
golem clumsy and sluggish The guy I work with is a real golem.
goyim non-Jewish people The place was full of goyim.
goyish(e) mind of a goyim He's got a real goyishke kup.
ganif thief Don't be such a gunnif.
handl bargain (verb) If you handel long enough, you'll get a good
kakameyme crazy He's got cacamaimey ideas.
khalishes ugly That tablecloth is chalcious.
khazer a pig He eats like a chaza.
khazeray junk The dollar store is full of chazarai.
khokhme bright idea That's a real good chochmeh.
kholem dream That's a cholem of a house!
khutspe nerve She has a lot of chutzpah to talk like that!
khutspe unmitigated gall Oy, you have got a lot of khutspe!
kibitz to meddle/gossip She likes to kibbitz with everyone at the office
kunts an accomplishment It was a real koontz to finally reach you on the phone.
kreftik hearty That is some kreftig soup!
kvel to glow with pride Oy, I could kvell watching those kids in the play
kvetsh complainer Don't be such a kvetch.
landtslayt from your home town They are luntslite.
luftmentsh dreamer He's a real luftmensch when it comes to working hard!
makheteyneste in laws My makatenista are coming.(male= mkhutn)
mamzer born out of wedlock He's a mumza.
mazl-tov congratulations Mazel tov on the new baby.
mentsh a nice gentleman He was such a mensch.
megile a long story I had to sit and and listen to the whole megillah.
mekhaye particularly delicious That dinner was a mechaya.
meshugine crazy person He acts like a real meshungina.
metsiye bargain (noun) That store has a great metziah onshoes.
mezumen cash I have to borrow some mezuma from the bank.
mishmash hodge-podge There's a whole mishmash of words here.
mishigas craziness What kind of mishigas is that?
miskayt ugly The daughter is a real meeskite.
mishpokhe family Bring the whole mishpacha.
mitsve a good deed That was a real mitzvah you did.
nakhes joy I get such nachas from putting these words down.
nebekh little nerd He is such a nebish.
nosh to eat a little snack I was noshing all morning.
nosh snack We'll have a little nosh and then we'll talk
nosher nibbler I'm a nosher all morning long.
nudnik pest Stop being a nudnick and leave me alone!
ongepatsht a little too much That outfit is a little ongapatchka.
pisk big mouth Let's hope he doesn't open up that pisk.
plats burst You'll laugh until you plotz.
pupik belly button You could see her pupick.
shlep to drag I had to schlep it across town.
shmendrek jerk He's a real schmendrick.
shviger mother in law The schvigger is coming.
shvitsn sweating Oy, am I schvitzing.
(note: the ending"ing" is an English ending, in Yiddish:
I shvits, you shvitst, he/she shvitst, we/they
shvitsn, you in plural
shvitsn, you in polite
sheygets non-Jewish male She married a shagitz.
sheyner ponim pretty face Oh, shayna punim.
shiksa non-Jewish female He's going out with a shiksa.
shlekht bad That restaurant is generally schlecht.
shlemil dope, fool He's a real schlemiel - always screwing up!
shmendrik fool The kid is a real schmendrick.
shnorer beggar That guy is a real schnorrer.
shiker drunkard That shicker has had too much to drink.
shlemazl unlucky person The poor schlemazel had his car stolen.
shmates rags Your cloths look like shmatas.
shmuz dirt It's covered with schmootz.
shpilkes nervous energy I had shpilkes before the interview.
shtik routine So, that's his shtick.
shver father in law My shver is a nice enough guy.
tokhes tush I'll pinch your tuchis.
treyf non-kosher That food is trafe.
tsigangnye/bobkelekh small portions Don't worry - you'll get tziganna
tsibele onion It will taste better if you spice it
up with some tzibeleh.
tumul noise, confusion There's a lot of tuml coming from
the kid's rooms
tsures troubles That car gives me nothing but tzorress!
utzing needling, bothering Stop utzing me.
zay gezundt bless you (when you sneeze)