Sunday, July 12, 2009

Yiddish-Yinglish Dictionary of Fools

Legend has it that Eskimos (Inuit) have hundreds of words to describe snow. We Jews have hundreds of words for,"pains in the neck."

Among the many majesties of Yiddish, is its magical ability to turn words into an emotional thesaurus. Both the "good" and the "bad" alike are not merely "said." No. They're felt - in all their subtle nuance and multiple meanings. This is never more true then when we're talking about a "fool" or a "nudnek," a "shliemel," or a "schnook." Face it. We Jews don't bear fools lightly. Who had time?

So is it surprising that we have more words in Yiddish for fools than there are Golden Arches? These words are so delicious, many have become part of American jargon. Do you have the story about these words, and what they truly mean? In case you don't, as a public service, we from Jewlarious are proud to present the first...

Yiddish-Yinglish Dictionary of Fools

Bulvan : An ox, with no class. He'll move your house on his back - without asking.

Chaim Yankel : A mister nobody. His favorite color is beige.

Chaleria : A shrew. If her pastrami sandwich is fatty, she'll make a federal case.

Chazzer : A pig: He'll take home the cheap wine he brought you for Passover.

Draycup : She not only forgot her address, she's in the wrong city.

Eingeshparht : He's got a head like a rock.

Gantseh Macher : He made a few bucks selling whoopie cushions, so suddenly he's Trump. Synonym: K'nocker

Gonif : Unscrupulous, a thief. His partner's sent out an APB.

Grubber yung: Crude. A big mouth who has dirt (from grabbing) under his fingernails.

Klutz: Clumsy. She falls over her own sneakers fastened with Velcro.

Kvetch: A whiner. The food's salty, the place is chilly, eating out - who needs it?

Luftmensch : A dreamer - who never wakes up. He could paint a masterpiece, if only he had an easel - and knew how.

Meshugener : A loony. Whether he thinks his underwear is after him or barrels over Niagara Falls, he's one letter short of an M&M.

Moishe Kapoyer : Today he'd be called "oppositional." The family votes to hold the reunion in Vegas. He votes for Vilna.

Nar : He left his law practice to become a clown.

Nayfish: A doormat. When he's robbed, he apologizes for being short on cash.

Nebuch : A hapless unfortunate. He gets stepped on by accident a lot.

Nuchshlepper : A hanger-on. She shleps the 200 pound camping gear for the group.

Nudnik: A persistent bore. She doesn't stop with the talking, the asking, the annoying till you want to staple her lips together.

Noodge : A pesty badgerer. She tells you twelve times to check the locks. Unlike the nudnik, it could be an occasional occurrence.

Ongeblussen : A self-involved blowhard. If his last name is Moses, he thinks the Bible gave him a mention.

Oysvorf : Unpopular outcast. Think David Duke at a Hadassah meeting.

Paskudnyak : A revolting, corrupt person. For him, there would be a very short funeral.

Shikker : A drunk. He has a little chaser with his Cheerios.

Shlemiel : A pathetic, clumsy loser. Always spills his drink

Shlimazel : An unlucky loser. He's the one the shlemiel spills his drink on.

Shlump : Unkempt, saggy. She shleps, stooped, with her hair in strings.

Shmeggege : An idiotic doofus. Short of a "meshuganah," he's sure he'll make a killing with his musical toilet seat... and acts like a macher about it.

Shmendrik : Nincompoop. A fraternal twin to a shlemiel, he's thinner and weaker.

Shnook : A likeable patsy. You could sell him a time-share in Area 51, and he'll pay top dollar for vacationing on a historical site.

Shnorrer : A beggar. He's forever borrowing, taking advantage. Bad for a potluck party.

Trombenik : A lazy braggart. Not only does he blow his own horn, he doesn't own one.

Yachna : A loud-mouthed, boorish female. In Loehmann's dressing room she'll yell "It would fit if you lost a few pounds!"

Yutz : Socially inept. He takes you to a restaurant with a clown face and spends the evening discussing his train collection.

Zshlub : Lazy slob. He shows up with schmutz on his untucked shirt. To Archie Bunker, "meathead" looked like a zshlub when he met him - although he'd never say it

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