YIDDISH & YIDDISH-ISMS

Yiddish is an amazing source of colorful expressions, several of which have been incorporated into popular culture.  You may be surprised to know that several words of your everyday vocabulary have Yiddish roots!   From terms of endearment to the funniest of insults, some words in our common English language have come to mean something entirely different than their actual Yiddish definitions.   

Sadly, while more than 10 million people spoke Yiddish in the 1930s, by 1945, 75% of those people were gone.  Today, Yiddish is the language of over 100 newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, and websites.  And then there's the famous character, Linda Richman, played by Mike Myers on Saturday Night Live between 1991 and 1994.  His "Coffee Talk with Linda Richman" sketches were a spoof on his real mother-in-law, Linda Richman.  The Yiddish-isms he used, both in vocabulary and gestures, were spot on.

Our family uses Yiddish expressions all the time!  There are  words that are so right, so rich with flavor, of sweetness and spice, that no other word or phrase will suffice to convey the precise meaning of your thoughts.  

 

Oy!  Let's have some fun with Punim Protectors™ and Yiddish!

 

PUNIM:

Pronounce: poo'-nim (like the "u" in put)

Meaning:  (gender neutral) face

Use:  Look at that punim!

MENSCH:

Pronounce: men'ch

Meaning:  (gender neutral) an endearing word for a good, decent person 

Use:  He's such a mensch.

TUCHUS:

Pronounce: too'-chus (oo like the "u" in put, and ch like you're clearing your throat)

Meaning:  (gender neutral) rear end, bottom, derriere

Use:  Please put your tuchus back in your chair.

SHAYNA:

Pronounce: shay'-nuh 

Meaning:  (gender neutral) An endearing word for cute, pretty

Use:  Look at that shayna punim!

MAVEN:

Pronounce: may'-vin 

Meaning:  (gender neutral) expert or connoisseur

Use:  They know everything about trivia, a real trivia maven.

BUBBE:

Pronounce: boo'-bee (oo like the "u" in put)

Meaning:  (feminine) an endearing word for grandmother

Use:  My bubbe makes the best brisket!

ZEYDE:

Pronounce: Zay'-dee 

Meaning:  (masculine) endearing word for grandfather

Use:  My zeyde taught me how to play chess.

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