List of Yiddish Words and Expressions
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A B C
H I J K
P Q R S
T U V
W X Y Z
- 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
- Kadoches - Fever
- Kadoches mit koshereh fodem! - Absolutely nothing!
(Lit., fever with a kosher thread)
- Kaftan - Long coat worn by religious Jews
- Kakapitshi - Conglomeration
- Kalamutneh - Dreary, gloomy, troubled
- Kalleh - Bride
- Kalleh moid - A girl of marriageable age
- Kallehniu - Little bride
- Kalta neshomeh - A cold soul
- Kalekeh - A new bride who cannot even boil an egg.
- Kalyeh - Bad, wrong, spoiled
- Kam derlebt - Narrowly achieved (Lit., hardly lived
- 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.
- 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
- Kaptsen - Penniless person
- Karabeinik - Country peddler
- Karger - Miser, tightwad
- Kaseer - enema
- Kasheh - Groats, mush cereal, buckwheat, porridge; a
mess, mix-up, confusion
- Kasheh varnishkes - Cooked groats and broad (or
- Kashress - Kosher condition; Jewish religious dietary
- Kasnik, (keisenik) - Angry person; excitable person,
- Kasokeh - Cross-eyed
- Katchka - Duck (quack, quack)
- Katshkedik (Americanism) - Ducky, swell, pleasant
- Katzisher kop - Forgetful (Lit., Cat head)
- Kaynahorah - Lit: the evil eye. Pronounced in
order to ward of the evil eye, especially when speaking of one's good
fortune. "Everyone in the family is happy and healthy kaynahorah."
- Kazatskeh - Lively Russian dance
- Kein briere iz oich a breire - Not to have any choice
available is also a choice.
- Kemfer - Fighter (usually for a cause)
- Ken zein - Maybe, could be
- Kenen oyf di finger - Have facts at one's fingertips
- Ketzele - Kitten
- (To) Kibbitz - To offer unsolicited advice as a
- 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
- Kind un kait - Young and old
- Kinderlech - Diminutive, affectionate term for
- Kish mir en toches - Kiss my backside (slang)
- 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) Also used to describe a person's innards. "You
sweat your kishkehs out to give your children an good education, and what
thanks do you get?"
- (A) Kitsel - Tickle
- Klainer gornisht - Little prig (Lit., A little
- Klemt beim hartz - Clutches at my heartstrings
- Klaperkeh - Talkative woman
- Klipeh - Gabby woman, shrew, a female demon
- Klog- Plague
- Klogmuter - Complainer, chronic complainer
- (A) Klog iz mir! - Woe is me!
- Kloolye - A curse
- Klop - Bang, a real hard punch or wallop
- Klotz (klutz) - Ungraceful, awkward, clumsy person;
- Klotz kasheh - Foolish question; fruitless question
- Kloymersht - Not in reality, pretended (Lit., as if
- Knacker - A big shot
- Knackerke - The distaff k'nacker, but a real
- Knaidel (pl., k'naidlech) - Dumplings usually made of
matzoh meal, cooked in soup
- Knippel - Button, knot; hymen, virginity; money tied
in a knot in a handkerchief
- Knish (taboo) - Vagina
- Knishes - 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!)
- Komisch - Funny
- Kopvaitik - Headache
- Kosher - Jewish dietary laws based on "cleanliness".
Also referring to the legitimacy of a situation. "This plan doesn't seem
- 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)
- Kroivim - Relatives
- Krolik - Rabbit
- Kuch leffel - A person who mixes into other people's
business (cooking spoon)
- Kuck im on (taboo) - Defecate on him! The hell with
- Kuck zich oys! (taboo) - Go take a shit for yourself!
- Kugel - Pudding
- Kukn durkh di finger oyf - Shut one's eyes to.....,
connive at......, wink at.....
- Kum ich nisht heint, kum ich morgen - If I don't come
today, I'll come tomorrow (procrastinator's slogan)
- Kumen tsu gast - To visit
- Kuntzen - Tricks
- Kuni leml - A nerd
- Kunyehlemel - Naive, clumsy, awkward person;
nincompoop; Casper Milquetoast
- Kuppe drek- A piece of fecal matter (s--t)
- 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
- K'velen - Glow with pride and happiness, beam; be
- K'vetsh - Whine, complain; whiner, a complainer
- K'vitsh - Shriek, scream, screech
- Lachen mit yash-tsherkes - Forced or false laugh;
laugh with anguish
- Laidik-gaier - Idler, loafer
- Lakeh - A funnel
- Lamden - Scholar, erudite person, learned man
- Lamed Vovnik - Refers to the Hebrew number "36" and
traditionally each generation produces 36 wise and righteous persons who gain
the approbation of "lamed vovnik."
- Lang leben zolt ir! - Long may you live!
- Lange loksch - A very tall thin person , A long tall
drink of water.
- Lantslaite - Plural of lantsman
- Lantsman - Countryman, neighbour, fellow townsman
from "old country".
- Lapeh - Big hand
- Layseh mogen - Diarrhea
- (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!
- Leck, shmeck - Done superficially (lick, smell)
- L'chei-im, le'chayim! - To life! (the traditional
Jewish toast); To your health, skol
- Leffel - Spoon
- Leibtzudekel - Sleeveless shirt (like bib) with
fringes, worn by orthodox Jews
- Leiden - To suffer
- Lemechel - Milquetoast, quiet person
- Lemeshkeh - Milquetoast, bungler
- Leshem shomaim - Idealistically, "for the sake of
- Leshono toyvo tiko-seyvu - Happy New Year (May a good
year be inscribed and sealed for you.)
- Leveiyeh - Funeral
- Lezem gayne - leave them be
- Lig in drerd! - Get lost! Drop dead! (Lit., Bury
- 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
- Lobbus - Little monster
- Loch - Hole Loch in kop - Hole in the head.
- Loksch - An Italian gentleman.
- Lokshen - Noodles
- Lokshen strop - a "cat- o- nine tails"
- Lominer gaylen - Clumsy fool (a golem-Frankenstein
monster -- created by the Lominer rebbe)
- Loz mich tzu ru! - Leave me alone! (Lit., Let me be
- 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").
- Machareikeh - Gimmick, contraption
- Macher - big shot, person with access to authorities,
man with contacts.
- Machshaifeh - Witch
- Maidel - Unmarried girl, teenager
- Maideleh - Little girl (affectionate term)
- Maven - Expert, connoisseur, authority
- Maisse - A story
- Maisse mit a deitch - A story with a (moral) twist
- Makeh - Plague, wound, boil, curse
- Mameleh - Mother dear
- Mamelushen - Mother language (Yiddish)
- Mamoshes - Substance, people of substance.
- Mamzer - Bastard, disliked person, untrustworthy
- Mamzerook - A naughty little boy
- Mashgiach - Inspector, overseer or supervisor of
Kashruth in restaurants & hotels.
- Mashugga - Crazy
- Matkes - Underpants
- Maynster - Mechanic, repairman, workshop proprietor
- Mayster - Master craftsman, champion,
- Mazel Tov - Good Luck (lit) Generally used to convey
- Me ken brechen! - You can vomit from this!
- Me ken lecken di finger! - It's delicious!
- Me krechts, me geht veyter - I complain and I keep
- Me lost nit leben! - They don't let you live!
- Me redt zich oys dos hartz! - Talk your heart
- Mechuten - In-Law
- Mechutonim - In-Laws (The parents of your child's
- Mechutainista - Mother-In-Law
- Megillah - A long story
- Mein bobbeh's ta'am - Bad taste! Old fashioned taste!
- Mein cheies gait oys! - I'm dying for it!
- Mekheye - An extreme pleasure, orgasmic, out of this
- Mekler - Go-between
- Menner vash tsimmer - Men's room
- Mentsh - A special man or person. One who can be
- Menuvel - A
person who is always causing grief, can get nothing right, and is always in
- Meshpokha - 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
- Meshugoyim - Crazy people
- Messer - Knife
- Me zogt - They say; it is said.
- Mezinka - A special dance for parents whose last
child is getting married
- Mezuzah - Tiny box affixed to the right side of the
doorway of Jewish homes containing a small portion of Deuteronomy, handwritten
- Mies - Ugly
- Mieskeit - Ugly thing or person.
- Mikveh - Ritual bath used by women just prior to
marriage as well as after each monthly cycle. This represents a "spiritual
cleansing after a potential to create a new life was not actualized.
There are some religious men who also use mikvehs prior to festivals and the
Sabbath. Some Chassidim immerse every morning before praying.
- Min tor nit - One (or you) mustn't
- Minyan - Quorum of ten men necessary for holding
public worship (must be over 13 years of age)
- Mirtsishem - G-d willing
- Mitn derinnen - All of a sudden, suddenly
- Mitn grobn finger - Quibbling, stretching a point
- Mitzvah - Good deed
- Mizinik - The youngest child in an immediate family
- Mogen Dovid - Star of David
- Moisheh kapoyer - Mr. Upside-Down! A person who does
everything backwards. Not knowing what one wants.
- Mosser - Squealer
- Mossik - Mischief maker, prankster, naughty little
- Moyel - Person (usually a rabbi) who performs
- Mutek - Brave
- Mutshen zich - To sweat out a job
- Muttelmessig - Meddlesome person, kibbitzer
- N'vayle - Shroud; inept person
- Na! - Here! Take it. There you have it.
- Naches - Joy: Gratification, especially from
- 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
- Narvez - Nervous
- Nebach - It's a pity. Unlucky, pitiable person.
- Nebbish - A nobody, simpleton, weakling, awkward
- 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)
- Nechuma - Consolation
- Nechvenin - To masturbate
- Nem zich a vaneh! - Go take a bath! Go jump in the
- Neshomeh - Soul, spirit
- Neshomeleh - Sweetheart, sweet soul
- Nisht geshtoygen, nisht gefloygen - neither here nor
- 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 araynton keyn finger in kalt vaser - Loaf, not
do a thing, be completely inactive
- Nisht fur dich 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 geferlech - Not so bad, not too shabby (Lit.
- Nishtkefelecht - No big deal!
- Nisht gefloygen, nisht getoygen - It doesn't matter
- Nisht gefonfit! - Don't hedge. Don't fool around.
- Nisht getoygen, nisht gefloygen - It doesn't fly, it
- 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
- Nit gidacht gevorn. - It shouldn't come to pass.
- Nit kosher - Impure food. Also, slang, anything not
- Nit heint, nit morgen! - Not today, not tomorrow!
- Nito farvos! - You're welcome!
- Nitsn - To use
- Noch a mool - One more time
- 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, dahf men huben kinder? - Does one have children?
(When a child does something bad)
- Nu, shoyn! - Move, already! Hurry up! Let's go!
Aren't you finished?
- Nudnik - Pesty nagger, nuisance, a bore, obnoxious
- Nudje - Annoying person, badgerer (Americanism)
- Nudjen - Badger, annoy persistently
- 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)
- Oder gor oder gornisht - All or nothing
- 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!
- Oif tsalooches - For spite
- Oisgeshtrobelt! - Overdressed woman.
- Oisgeshtrozelt - Decorated (beautiful)
- Oisgevapt - Flat (as in "the fizz has gone out of
- Ois-shteler - Braggart
- Oiver botel - Absentminded: getting senile
- Okurat - That's right! Ok! Absolutely!
(Sarcastically: Ya' sure!) Okuratner mentsh - Orderly person
- Olreitnik! - Nouveau riche!
- On langeh hakdomes! - Cut it short! (Lit., without
- 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
- 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
- Ot azaih - That's how, just like that
- Ot kimm ich - Here I come!
- Ot gaist du - There you go (again)
- Oy mi nisht gut gevorn - "Oh my, I'm growing weary."
- Oy vey tsu meina baina - Woe is me (down to my toes)
- 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
- Oyfn oyg - Roughly, approximately
- Oyg oyf oyg - In private, face-to-face
- Oys shiddech - The marriage is off!
- Oysznoygn fun finger - Concoct, invent (a story)
- Oysergeveynlekh - Unusual (sometimes used as
- Oysgedart - Skinny, emaciated
- Oysgehorevet - Exhausted
- Oysgematert - Tired out, worn out
- Oysgemutshet - Worked to death, tired out
- Oysgeposhet - "Well grazed," in the sense of being
- Oysgeputst - Dressed up, overdressed; over decorated
- Oysgeshprait - Spread out
- Oysgevapt - A bubbly drink that has lost its fizz.
- Oysvurf - Outcast, bad person
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