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   Yiddish Sayings



  See also Yiddish Words


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There are plenty of books that have Yiddish sayings, so if this subject is of interest to you, use my link to Amazon.com to find them easier 


Do you understand Yiddish was the secret code, therefore I don't farshtaist. 

A biselch maybe here and there, the rest has gone to waste. 
Sadly when I hear it now, I only get the gist.

My bobeh spoke it beautifully; but me, I am tsemisht. 
So och un vai as I should say, or even oy vai iz mir.

Though my pisk is lacking Yiddish, it's familiar to my ear. 
And I'm no Chaim Yonkel, in fact I was shtick naches.

But when it comes to Yiddish though, I'm talking out my toches. 

Es iz a shandeh far di kinder that I don't know it better (though it's really nisht kefelecht when one needs to write a letter).

But, when it comes to characters there's really no contention. No other linguist can compete with honorablemenshen.

They have nebbishes and nebechels and others without mazel. 

Then too, shmendriks and schlemiels and let's not forget schlimazel.

These words are so precise and descriptive to the listener. So much better than a pill is to call someone farbissener.

Or that a brazen woman would be better called chaleria. 
And you'll agree farklempt says more than does hysteria.

I'm not haken dir a tsheinik and I hope I'm not a kvetch. But isn't mieskeit kinder than to call someone a wretch?

Mitten derinnen, I hear bobbeh say: It's nechtiker tog, don't fear.
To me you're still a maiven, zol zein shah, don't fill my ear.

A lieben ahf dein kepele, I don't mean to interrupt.

But you are speaking narishkeit.

And a gezunt auf dein kop!


Biseleh = A little
Bocher (Bochur) ="Bachur" in Sephardadi Hebrew, and "Bocher" or "Bochur" in Ashkenazi Hebrew and/or Yiddish, means a youth or a young unmarried man. The second, pronounced "Bechor" in Sephardi Hebrew and "Bechoir" in Ashkenazi Hebrew, means "first born" or "Senior" (masculine form).
Chaleria = Evil woman. Probably derived from cholera.
Farbissener = Embittered; bitter person
Ferbisseneh punim = sour face
Farklempt = Too emotional to talk. Ready to cry.
Farshtaist = (Do You?) Understand
Fershikert = drunk
Grubber yung = eats like a pig and wipes his face with the back of his  hand.
Haken dir a tsheinik = Don't get on your nerves (Lit., Don't bang your teapot!)
Keinehora - a Yiddish version of the Hebrew word "Bli ayin raah". In English, it would be used to "ward off the devils eye"

Kvetch = Whine, complain; whiner, a complainer
Lieben ahf dein kepele = Words of praise like; Well said! Well done! (Lit., A long life upon your head)
Makhsheyfe - the woman's a witch!
Mazik- (A demon or devil), mischievous, clever or ingenious
Mieskeit = Ugly!
Mitten derinnen = All of a sudden, suddenly
Momzer - (An illegitimate child), a clever little rogue
Naches = Joy, Gratification
Narishkeit = Nonsense
Nebbishes = A nobody or simpleton
Nebechels = A pitiful person or playing the role of being one
Nechtiker tog! = He's (it's) gone! Forget it! Nonsense! (Lit., a night's day)
Nudnik- pest, nag, Origin is Polish-Russian - "nuda" - boredom, dull, and Polish "nudziarz" is associated with bore or bromide. But say "nudnik", and this is a different world.
Och un vai = Alas and alack
Oi vai iz mir = Woe is me
Pisk = mouth
Potchki = not a body part
Schlemiel = Clumsy bungler, an inept person, butter-fingered; dopey person
Schmendrik = Nincompoop; pipsqueak, an inept or indifferent person; same as schlemiel
Schlimazel = Luckless person. Unlucky person; one with perpetual bad luck (it is said that the schlemiel spills the soup on the Schlimazel)
Shana maydel = pretty girl
Shandeh far di kinder = A pity/shame for the children!
Shmegegge- a no-talent person
Shtkefelecht = Not so terrible
Treyf = not kosher
Tsemisht = Confused or mixed up
Zol zein shah! = Be quiet. Shut up!!

Yiddish Radio     

This is a site that offers Yiddish Radio and it comes from Australia. If the link doesn't work on your computer, just go to 

and find the Radio Link and then follow it to the Yiddish Radio link.



Glossary of Yiddish Terms


The following link is provided, not as a political statement, but rather to offer further explanations of popular words and expressions in Yiddish. You are looking for "George and Laura". Gibe a keek!



Isn't it redundant to put a yarmulke on a toupee? 

Yiddish word for Today: PULKES (PUHL-kees) THIGHS note: this word has been traced back to the language of one of the original Tribes of Israel, the Cellulites. 

There are some English words that when said by someone with a Yiddish accent, take on a whole new meaning. For example, if you would have asked my dad what the word wrench meant, he would have said something like the following: A wrench is where the cowboys live. 

The only really good advice that your Jewish mother ever gave you was "Go! You might meet somebody!" 

You know you're a Jew if you watched Ed Sullivan every Sunday night, and your parents laughed out loud at Myron Cohen. 

You spent your entire childhood thinking everyone called pot roast "brisket." 

Yiddish in America

Yiddish Links

Here is a site where you can learn about the Yiddish language and Jewish life in the old world.






Yiddish Proverbs

If they give, take: if they take, yell!

The wheel turns round
Talk less, do more
When you grease palms, you ride
A liar should have a good memory
When you have no linen, you save the laundry bill
Petty thieves are hanged, major ones go free
Times is the best healer
Too smart outsmarts itself
No one is deaf to praise
None so deaf as those who will not hear
If one man calls you a donkey, ignore him. If two men call you a donkey, think about it. If three men call you a donkey, buy a saddle
What one has, one doesn't want; what one wants one doesn't have
Don't spit in the well, you might drink from it later
You can't chew with someone else's teeth
When a rogue kisses you, count your teeth
When it falls, it falls butter side down
Your friend has a friend, and your friend's friend has a friend; be discreet
An insincere peace is better than a sincere war
If grandma had wheels, she'd be a wagon
The highest wisdom is kindness
One fool makes many fools
The sun will set without your help
What is cheap, is dear
Death is the only certainty
The whole world is one town

Broken down wagon


Collapsed horse


Deeds (Stories)

Buba Maise (stories told by Bubba)

Get Out (scat, scram)




more to come ...

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