Funnier In Yiddish

Yiddish is a language with words derived primarily from German, Hebrew, and Aramaic.

When someone wants to know if you speak Yiddish, sometimes, they just say, “Do you speak Jewish?” 

Many of the Yiddish words are popular and have become commonplace in our communications now-a-day. 

One of my friends used to say, “Jokes are always funnier in Yiddish.”

And sure enough, there is something about Yiddish words, pronunciations, and nuances that make getting a point across very potent and at the same time, quite humorous. 

Take the words on this eduational Yiddish poster–it’s like the Yiddish words just sound like and makes perfect sense for what it is (see how many you recognize):

– Bagel – Bagel 

– Chazar – Pig

– Chootspah (chutzpah) – Gall 

– Gonif – Thief

– Imglick – Luck

– Klutz – Clumsy

– Kvitch (kvetch)- Complainer

– Macher – Big shot

– Mishugina (mashugana) – Crazy

– Noodnik – Annoying

– Pipik – Belly Button

– Shlep – Lug 

– Shmootz – Dirt

– Shnops (schnapps) – Liquor

– Shvigger – Mother-in-law

– Trafe – Unkosher

– Tsooris – Problems

– Yenta – Talker

– Zoftig – Fat

There is one more word not on the list here that is probably recongizable and that is a “shmuck,” which refers to a contemptable person, but literally refers to a man’s private parts–ah, maybe that’s why it’s not on the picture poster. 😉

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Meshuga Mints

Meshuga Mints

So my daughter goes to New York for break and brings me back “Meshuga Mints.”

“Meshuga” in Yiddish and Hebrew means crazy.

On top it says they are “Crazy Strong!” and it has a picture of fiddler on the roof on it.

She got these at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side, which has restored apartments and shows how immigrants lived when they came to this country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries–over 7,000 people from 20 nations lived in this 5-story building of just 22 apartments. The units were very small and housed between 6 and 14 people each. Most were sweatshop workers and people just trying to improve their lives. It’s eye opening to see how people got by with so little.

The mints themselves were a perfect gift, and I am so glad she had a great time visiting Times Square, Coney Island, the Staten Island Ferry, the 9/11 Memorial, and more.

It’s interesting for me, having been a native New Yorker, to see my daughter go back and experience life there even for just a few days.

New York City is definitely an exciting and meshuga place. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)