The overdue for a holiday Engine Room recently wrote an article on this Diablog on the subject of:
He asked us what word from a foreign language do you know, that’s needed, or possibly already used in English?
Obviously one takes any request from ER very seriously, and after many seconds of thought I would like to make a claim for the many Yiddish words that have come into use in the English language.
I do not speak the language but my father-in-law spoke it well, and used it to converse with many people in his time when neither party understood the others adopted tongue, but had in common a Jewish Yiddish background.
Many Yiddish words have now crept in to daily useage such as the word Kosher that has become a catch all word meaning acceptable, seemly, correct, right, proper etc.
I.E. Glynsky is not kosher.
Even if one knows no actual yiddish words their sound can often explain the meaning.
If I were to call someone a Shmuck you would immediately understand that one was not trying to flatter them. The word actually means idiot but you knew that from reading it didn’t you?
Then take the word Gornisht, which could be used in a sentence as shown below:
“Glynsky’s a schlemiel with a tiny little schmekel who in six months time will be nothing more than a gornisht.”
I will leave you to translate the above.
If you are on Shpilkes: Then you are restless.
If you have a lot of Chutzpah: Then you have a lot of cheek or nerve.
I could go on giving other examples but I have no wish to make you want to Kvetch about me, so I will leave you with a cartoon.