Archive Page 2


Yiddish word of the week:
Shvitz- Sweat
Can also be used to describe a steam room session.
Eg.- It is so hot in NY right now that I am shvitzing like a hazer (pig).
After working out I went for a shvitz



Yiddish word of the week:
Yenne-velt: Literally “other world”. Used to indicate the afterlife or the world to come. Also used in the context of a place which is really far away or in the “middle of nowhere”.
E.g.- Randi, Lenny, Bob and Ina were on their way to the club, and it was taking an unusually long time. Ina said, “what’s beyond yenne-velt? because that’s where this place is!”


Luftmensch: Literally, “air person”. Someone whose head is in the clouds, usually concerned with intellectual or artistic pursuits while being oblivious to and out of touch with this-worldly concerns like earning a living. Usually refers to a
male for historical/sociological reasons.

Eg.- My husband is such a luftmensch. Even though our electricity was disconnected he just studies by candle-light!

Gei gazinta hait

Gei gazinta hait: Go in good health. Often said in parting but can be spoken with irony to mean, “go do your own thing.”
She said she wanted to go on a 15 mile hike, and I said, “gei gezinta hait.”


Tzedreyt- confused/mixed up.

eg- When I got off the airplane I was all tzedreyt and forgot to get my luggage.


I took a little break, but thought this week was the time to restart the Yiddish word of the week.
This weeks word: SONY DSC/(plural– …lach) — a Jewish dumpling– aka- a matzah ball.
Eg.- Can I have another knaidel please? Your knaidlach are delicious!

This week’s word was the winning word in last week’s annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. The winner was a boy named Arvind Mahankali. However, Yiddish scholars dispute this as the correct transliteration. Interesting that the winning word can be one whose spelling is not so clear… See the NYT article here:


to bother incessantly, to break, or nag from “hokn a chaynik”– “to knock a teakettle.”teakettle

Hock mir nisht kein tshainik-  האַק מיר נישט קיין טשײַניק

(literally: Don’t knock a tea kettle)

Aside from the metaphor of the subject of the epithet, making meaningless noise as if he/she were banging on a teakettle, the phrase gains from the imagery of the lid of a teakettle full of boiling water “moving up and down, banging against the kettle like a jaw in full flap, clanging and banging and signifying nothing”; ironically, the less the contents, the louder and more annoying the noise.

The phrase became familiar to many Americans without contact with Yiddish speakers by appearing in two popular Three Stooges short films. In one, Moe announces he is going to the hockshop and Larry replies “While you’re there, hock me a tshaynik“; in the other, Larry, disguised as a Chinese laundryman, pretending to speak Chinese utters a stream of Yiddish doubletalk  ending with “Hak mir nisht keyn tshaynik, and I don’t mean efsher (maybe)!” The phrase has become relatively common in English in half-translated forms such as “Don’t hock my chainik”, to the point where shortened versions of the phrase, such as “You don’t have to hock me about it!” proliferate on TV and the movies, particularly where the speaker is intended to represent a resident of NYC even if not Jewish.

e.g.- Q: “Ben, did you take the garbage out yet?”

A: “This is the hundredth time you’ve asked me that– don’t hock me a chainik!!!”