If you ever had to nudge someone to get off their tush and fix a glitch….then you’ve yodelled some good ole Yiddish.
Yiddish is a language most commonly spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. Its roots are believed to have originated in 1250 when Jews began to migrate to the German Rhine Valley and then east to Central and Eastern Europe.
It’s a mixture of languages including Hebrew, German, Aramaic, Slavic and Romance languages.
As opposed to Aramaic, the language of learning, and Hebrew, the language of prayer, Yiddish was the common, regular day-to-day language.
Yiddish became very popular where millions spoke it by the early 1900’s. After the Holocaust, however, its use dropped drastically. However many words and phrases are still spoken strong in multiple countries, and some have even been adopted as mainstay vernacular.
Take America, for example. The following words are used ubiquitously, with few knowing of their Yiddish roots.
- nudge – came from noodge, to pester, nag, bore
- bagel – comes from beygl, a ringed bread food
- lox – from laks, salmon
- blintz – crepe
- glitch – a small malfunction
- -nik – someone aligned with a movement such as Beatnik
- klutz – someone who’s clumsy
- slob – one who is unkempt
- tush – from tuchas, buttocks
and that’s just a bissel (small amount) of it. A full comprehensive list of Yiddish words can be found here.
So next time your buddy invites you over for a bagel and lox, get off your tush, schlep over there, and schmooze a little.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.