What Are Some Yiddish Phrases and Words Used in English?


Quick Answer

Some Yiddish words used in English today include "nosh," "schnozz," "chutzpah," "klutz" and "putz." One common English expression that is a translation of a Yiddish phrase is, "I need this like I need a hole in the head."

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Some other Yiddish words that have been absorbed into the English language are "schlep," which means taking effort to move, "schmaltz," which means overly sentimental, and "schtick," which means gimmick. Another familiar word is "schmooze," meaning to have an intimate conversation or gathering with others. The word "chutzpah" is used to describe a person who has a strong sense of self-confidence or is bold in his endeavors. The word "klutz" refers to someone who is prone to dropping things or tripping often. Two words that refer to a person's character are "schmuck," which is literally translated as penis but also means a reprehensible person, and "mensch," or a man of great integrity.

The word "nosh" means to eat greedily and many Yiddish names for foods are still seen in grocery stores. Bagels are doughnut-shaped breads and lox is a type of smoked salmon that is often used on a bagel. Some other Yiddish foods are matzos, or unleavened biscuits, and a type of sliced smoked beef called pastrami.

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