Review of the Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary

Alec (Leyzer) Burko

Com­pre­hen­sive Eng­lish-Yid­dish Dic­tio­nary, edit­ed by Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath and Paul Glass­er (Bloom­ing­ton: Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2016), 856 pages, $60.00.

Read­ers will quick­ly notice that this is not your aver­age book review, either in terms of length or scope. To help guide you through, and to moti­vate your read­ing, you can nav­i­gate with the linked Table of Con­tents below. 



Mord­khe Schaechter and the Cre­ation of the CEYD

Yid­dish Dic­tio­nar­ies and the Tasks of Lan­guage Planning

The Chal­lenge of Yid­dish Dialects

The Art of the Neologism



Sex Ter­mi­nol­o­gy


Hasidic Yid­dish

A Final Word




The 2016 publication of the Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary (CEYD) was a milestone in the history of Yiddish lexicography. 1 1 Special thanks to Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath for allowing me access to the CEYD even before publication, initially for my own research. It is a great work, enormous both in size and contents: it contains some 50,000 entries and 33,000 subentries (that is, the number of English words and phrases translated). But because one English word may be glossed by multiple Yiddish equivalents, the total number of Yiddish words and expressions is probably larger; I estimate about a hundred thousand. 2 2 The total number of Yiddish words and expressions is about 130,000, but this contains many duplicates—words and phrases repeated under multiple English entries. For example, the phrase kalter lung-un-leber (lit. “cold lung and liver”) is given three times, under “indifferent person,” “apathetic person,” and “cold fish.” I am unable to determine precisely how many duplicates there are and by how much the total must be reduced. This would make the CEYD more than twice as large as its recent counterpart, the Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary (CYED) by Beinfeld and Bochner, and more than five times as large as its true predecessor, the English-Yiddish half of Uriel Weinreich’s Modern Yiddish-English English-Yiddish Dictionary (MYEEYD). 3 3 The CYED is based on Niborski and Weisbrot’s Yiddish-French dictionary, which contains about 37,000 entries and 10,000 subentries, or about 47,000 Yiddish words and expressions in total. Each half of U. Weinreich’s MYEEYD translates about 20,000 words. The CEYD is exceeded only by the unfinished Great Dictionary of the Yiddish Language (GDYL), the massive 1915 Encyclopedic English-Yiddish Dictionary by Paul Abelson, and the recent Yiddish-Dutch online dictionary by Justus van de Kamp. 4 4

The CEYD is an important new resource for anyone who reads Yiddish, but it is a real godsend for Yiddish writers and translators in particular. For the first time, they can find accurate Yiddish equivalents for English words and expressions far beyond the level of basic literacy. Using this dictionary, it is possible for novices to write in Yiddish with nuance about complex topics of modern life. Even the best-read Yiddishists will discover new idiomatic treasures, like how to say “beat around the bush” dreyen mit der tsung (lit. “to twist one’s tongue”), or “to give it one’s all” araynleygn dem tatn mit der mamen (lit. “put in one’s father and mother”). The CEYD is carefully designed and is the ideal instrument to expand the linguistic horizons of Yiddish-speakers everywhere.

Mordkhe Schaechter and the Creation of the CEYD

The dictionary is the result of a lifetime of dedication and love for the Yiddish language on the part Dr. Mordkhe Schaechter, and of equal dedication and devotion to Schaechter’s memory on the part of his editors: his daughter, Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath; his one-time student and good friend, Dr. Paul Glasser; and his colleague of many years, Dr. Chava Lapin. After sixteen years of hard work, they completed the dictionary in Schaechter’s spirit, according to his linguistic principles, and up to his exacting standards.

In addition to his full-time occupation as a professor, teacher, writer, editor, and activist, Schaechter was also a one-man institute of Yiddish lexicography. His home on Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx was filled to the brim, not only with his personal library and extensive archive, but also with his enormous lexical card file (or kartotek), most of which was housed in hundreds of shoe boxes. Schaechter began amassing his note cards in 1947, while still a student of linguistics at the University of Vienna, 5 5 From a transcript of Schaechter speaking about his life, beginning “I started my collections in 1947 in Vienna...” Box 124 (offsite), RG 682, Mordkhe Schaechter Collection, YIVO. and he continued collecting for another sixty years, until his kartotek came to cover hundreds of different topics.

A voracious reader of the Yiddish press and literature, Schaechter was constantly in search of new words, which he scribbled onto cards or slips of paper, or clipped out of the newspaper. By 1985 he estimated that he had “well over 350,000 cards with Yiddish linguistic observations, totaling . . . probably, about a million items.” 6 6 “An Interview with Dr. Mordkhe Schaechter” by Thomas. E. Bird, Mordkhe Schaechter and His Work: On the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday, New York: The League for Yiddish, 1987, 11. He called it “My treasure. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars, but hundreds of thousands of cards or slips—that I have.” 7 7 Letter, M. Schaechter to Meyer Wolf, October 10, 1981, box 88 (offsite), RG 682, Mordkhe Schaechter Collection, YIVO. Long after he began using a computer, Schaechter continued adding cards to the kartotek, because it was simply too much work to begin a new system of classification.

He worked systematically on about thirty different terminologies specific to various topics, only a few of which could be published during his lifetime: one on academic life, one on childbirth and early childhood, and a massive volume on plant names which he revised for decades and once called “the magnum opus of my life.” 8 8 From a transcript of Schaechter speaking about his life (see footnote 5). It was finally published in 2005. Only in his final years did Schaechter turn to a more far-reaching, all-inclusive project, which would subsume his various terminologies. He called it his Dictionary of the 21st Century. He had come to realize that Uriel Weinreich’s otherwise excellent MYEEYD, which Schaechter had himself assisted in compiling and editing, was too limited in scope and had, since 1968, become somewhat outdated. U. Weinreich had initially planned his to be a student dictionary with just 16,000 head words; only later did he expand it to 20,000—still too few for serious readers of Yiddish literature. Such readers had to make use of Harkavy’s more copious 1928 Yiddish-English-Hebrew dictionary 9 9 Alexander Harkavy, Yidish-english-hebreisher verterbukh, New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1928. (at least until the 2014 publication of Beinfeld and Bochner’s even more copious CYED).

Out of respect for U. Weinreich, a close personal friend, Schaechter did not plan on replacing the MYEEYD, but rather on producing an extensive addendum: his Dictionary of the 21st Century would complement the MYEEYD and be used in tandem with it. Unfortunately, Mordkhe Schaechter passed away in 2007, at age 79, with his final masterpiece unfinished. The project then fell principally to his daughter, Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, who had worked closely with her father since childhood and understood well how to apply his methods and principles. With the help of the other editors, Paul Glasser and Chava Lapin, Schaechter-Viswanath saw the work to completion, departing from Schaechter’s original plan of merely complementing Weinreich’s dictionary and instead incorporating its 20,000 words into the CEYD, in order to make looking up words more convenient (“one-stop shopping”).

Yiddish Dictionaries and the Tasks of Language Planning

The CEYD is a not an ordinary descriptive dictionary of the sort to which most English-speaking readers are accustomed. It is also, in part, a prescriptive language planning dictionary, created with the goal of expanding and elevating the Yiddish language, equipping Yiddish for modern life, and, hopefully, safeguarding its future. In practice, language planning here means that some of the words listed are neologisms and that other words, which readers might expect to find, are missing. But the CEYD is so copious, so rich in authentic phraseology, that the language planning element is relatively inconspicuous and very much secondary to the dictionary’s main function: to provide accurate Yiddish translations for over eighty thousand English words and phrases. Many users will not notice the language planning, but a careful reader will observe it in action—and as this is one of the major innovations of the CEYD, this review will concentrate on its language planning aspects.

An ideal that has long animated Yiddishist language planners like Schaechter and Weinreich has been to universalize the language, to make it an instrument capable of communicating everything and anything that can be said in modern (European) languages. This is a lexicographic manifestation of the larger Yiddishist ideal to create a total Yiddish space in which Yiddish-speakers can engage in all meaningful life activities in Yiddish: go to the doctor, play baseball, make love, etc. Schaechter was one of the last Jewish Territorialists, a political movement that once sought an alternative Zion (in Australia, Suriname, and elsewhere). 10 10 He dreamed all his life of creating a Yiddish-speaking territory, and, in fact, did just that at a small scale with several neighboring families on Bainbridge Avenue. As a lexicographer, his goal was to outfit the language to encompass all of life for the benefit of the language itself, for those who live out all or part of their lives in Yiddish (which, even today, is several hundred thousand people), and in the unlikely event that a Yiddish-speaking territory might actually arise (perhaps in Brooklyn?).

For Yiddish language planners, expanding and elevating the language has mainly meant rediscovering old words or inventing new ones with which to fill in lexical gaps, as well as ridding the language of elements, such as Germanisms and Americanisms, deemed undesirable. The particular tradition of prescriptivist Yiddishist lexicography leading to the CEYD goes back to Max Weinreich, Uriel’s father and one of the founders of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. At the outbreak of World War II, the Weinreich family happened to be on vacation in Denmark. Unable to return to Vilna, Max and Uriel were stranded in Copenhagen for half a year while awaiting visas and passage to America. Free of his usual administrative duties, without his personal library and notes to busy him, M. Weinreich set to work on a new project: a never-to-be-finished Dictionary of the Yiddish Standard Language (kulturshprakh)—in effect, an English-Yiddish dictionary. The comparison with English (which had the largest number of words of any language even then) revealed the many areas in which the Yiddish lexicon was lacking, places where the intervention of a language planner with a talent for coining new terms would be helpful.

Unfortunately, the location of M. Weinreich’s unfinished dictionary manuscript is unknown. But many of his new coinages found their way into Nahum Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus of the Yiddish Language, which M. Weinreich edited and which YIVO published in 1950. 11 11 Nahum Stutchkoff, Der oytser fun der yidisher shprakh, New York: YIVO, 1950. Sadly (for those of us interested in such things), M. Weinreich’s neologisms are unmarked in the Thesaurus and are not easily identified. For now, the best one can do is to check earlier dictionaries and to scroll through Google Books to see if an unfamiliar word was ever used before. If the word happens to begin with the letter aleph, one can check the GDYL, where Yudel Mark tried to label neologisms and to credit their creators. We are lucky in the case of M. Weinreich because he was very conscious of his role in the history of the language and occasionally remarked in his own writings that he had coined such and such a term. 12 12 Some of M. Weinreich’s more notable coinages include: der dervaksling “adolescent,” di genitung “exercise,” dos gepruv “experience,” dos gerem “framework,” der inteligents-vifler “IQ,” der mitl-elter “Middle Ages,” di shmeltsshprakh “fusion language.” Even better, Mark published a lengthy article evaluating M. Weinreich’s contributions to the Yiddish lexicon. 13 13 “Neologizmen bay Maks Vaynraykhn,” For Max Weinreich, The Hague: Mouton, 1964, 412-435.

U. Weinreich followed his father’s example when compiling the MYEEYD, carefully labelling the Germanisms and Americanisms with symbols, but leaving the neologisms unmarked. Although this practice is frustrating for those of us interested in neologisms, it is the logical result of the language planning calculation that new coinages have a better chance of being adopted if they are treated as normal words, and not marked off as a separate category. After all, some users might be hesitant to use the neologisms so marked in the GDYL or the CYED, and that would defeat the purpose of their own creation.

Schaechter called the MYEEYD “the most drastic attempt at linguistic reconstruction in the history of Yiddish.” 14 14 Mordkhe Schaechter, “Dem YIVOs yidish-uftu: roshe־prokimdike observatsyes un sakhaklen tsun a yoyvl-date,” YIVO-bleter 46 (1980), 204. Although most Yiddish writers were getting on in years and 1968 was rather late in the day to reconstruct the language, still the dictionary was generally well received. The CEYD is an even more drastic attempt and 2016 is much later in the day, but it has also been warmly received, and even won the 2016 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Award.

The translations in the CEYD are generally precise, idiomatic, and natural-sounding—even when they have never been heard before. The dictionary is more up-to-date on social and cultural issues and includes important terms like “female rabbi” di rabinerte, rabinershe, rovte; “glass ceiling” di glezerne stelye; “African American” der afroamerikaner; “lesbian” di lesberke, lesbyanke; and “transsexual” der transseksualist. Especially in their treatment of idioms, the editors demonstrate a real feeling for the phraseology of both languages. One minor triumph is their nuanced treatment of the exclamation “ah!”: (disappointment) oy, a shod!; (surprise) oy!; (dislike) fe!; (pain) oy (vey)!; (pleasure) a mekhaye(nish)!; (sorrow) oy! (Fifty shades of oy…)

A subtle test of the editors’ powers are those instances where they translate a Yiddishism (an English word originally borrowed from Yiddish) back into Yiddish, because the word has sometimes acquired a somewhat different meaning in English. The English word “mensch,” for example, becomes der (laytisher) mentsh, der layt. The (English) perjorative “Yid,” which is positive in Yiddish (“Jew,” or even simply “person”), is aptly translated with the Slavic der zhid. The word “putz,” which is much more innocent in English, becomes der shmondak (as well as der pots). Similarly, “schmuck,” when referring to a person, is der shmondak, der shvants, and only der shmok when referring specifically to the organ. Other examples include “schlep” dos shlepenish, “schlock” dos bovl, and “schnorrer” der betler (as well as shnorer); even “shtick” becomes plural in Yiddish: di shtik. (An interesting hypothetical case is the very common Yiddishism “shul (synagoge),” which does not appear in the CEYD. According to Schaechter’s principles, it would have been translated as di shil with the Southern Yiddish /i/, in order to distinguish it from di shul “school.”) Some of the better translations use whole phrases in order to communicate an English concept: “mystery meat” dos fleysh nisht tsum derkenen, “trophy wife” dem gvirs yung sheyn vaybl. Then again, there are some instances where the translations seem a little wooden or not quite right. 15 15 For examples of fine and less fine translations, see Appendix 1 below. I have written this review in the Schaechter tradition with long lists of examples.

The Challenge of Yiddish Dialects

In the preface to the CEYD, the editors point out their efforts to give more attention to the southern Yiddish dialects, Southeastern (Ukrainian) and Central (Polish) Yiddish (as opposed to the Northeastern (Lithuanian) dialect which was favored by many previous lexicographers and language planners, like Harkavy and the Weinreichs). Nevertheless, because the orthography and system of transcription remain YIVO standard (mainly the work of M. Weinreich), there is seldom occasion to notice the difference.

There are some dialect forms that have not previously received due recognition: oyvn as well as oybn “above,” meretshke as well as murashke “ant,” ilerley as well as alerley “sundry,” tsuzam as well as tsuzamen “together.” 16 16 A recent Hasidic rhyming dictionary is titled Shtel tsuzam a gram, lit. “put together a rhyme.” Shtel tsuzam a gram, Brooklyn, NY: Liovits, ©2009. Other of Schaechter’s preferred forms (often dialectal) are also optional in the CEYD; for example, dropping the g in ba(g)leytn “to accompany,” or the d in words like skan(d)irn “to scan”; or the folksy -ik ending in akhtik/akhtung “attention.” The city of “St. Petersburg” is not only Sholem-Aleichem’s Peyterbarg, but also the usual Peterburg. Similarly, the river “Danube” is both di Tine and der Dunay. (On the other hand, “Bratislava” is only Preshborik, though it is usually written Preshburg.) The word bekhlal “in general” remains as in Hebrew and is not further Yiddishized to beklal. Usually (though not always), both the dialectal krik- “back,” which Schaechter favored, and the more frequent literary tsurik- are given. The epenthetic vowel is optional in words like fin(e)f “five,” el(e)f “eleven,” tsvel(e)f “twelve,” di mil(e)kh “milk,” der keg(e)ner “opponent,” der kal(e)kh “lime/calcium.” 17 17 American Hasidim also say hem(e)d “shirt” and probably many more.

The main expression of the dialects in the CEYD is in the gender of nouns, because Lithuanian Yiddish famously lacks the neuter gender. The Litvak lexicographer Alexander Harkavy was so unsure of the correct gender that, after finishing the words beginning with aleph, he simply stopped indicating grammatical gender in his Yiddish-English-Hebrew dictionary. Litvaks have always been a minority among Yiddish speakers, but because they were once overrepresented in the press and in literary culture, their preferred gender, masculine or feminine, has often still remained an acceptable option in the literary language — and is sometimes reflected in the CEYD. For two important words, vayb “wife” and meydl “girl,” the Litvaks have provided a feminine gender as a welcome alternative to the inherited neuter. One word even has a choice of all three genders: der/di/dos resht “remainder/change/rest.”

On the other hand, Ukrainian and Polish Yiddish display some innovations of their own. With the suffix -eray, the southern dialects can distinguish between words denoting an activity or concept, which are neuter (dos moleray “painting,” dos shklaferay “slavery”), and those denoting a location where such activity takes place, which are feminine (di shteyneray “quarry,” di drukeray “printing shop”). Schaechter favored this differentiation (which is absent in German) and convinced U. Weinreich to introduce it into the MYEEYD. Similarly, the very frequent suffix -kayt (in Ukrainian Yiddish -keyt) can be neuter in the southern dialects, not only feminine, as in Lithuanian Yiddish (and German). In this case, U. Weinreich did not accept Schaechter’s advice—but now the CEYD has over two thousand words with optional di/dos . . . -kayt.

The Art of the Neologism

The CEYD is a practical dictionary, not a historical one, and does not aim to satisfy those interested in etymologies. Due to Yiddish speakers’ strong “component consciousness,” they are inclined to give excessive attention to word origins, which tends to reinforce in their own minds the negative stereotype that Yiddish is a hodge-podge of German, Hebrew, and Slavic elements. Even ultra-Orthodox Jews often express the view that words like shabes “Sabbath” and efsher “perhaps” are actually not Yiddish words, but Hebrew/loshn-koydesh. In order to counter such views, M. Weinreich coined the term shmeltsshprakh “fusion language” and argued that, whatever their origins, words used in Yiddish had fused into a new linguistic system with rules of its own. 18 18 E.g., the plural of shabes is shabosim, not loshn-koydesh shabosoys or Modern Hebrew shabatot. The Weinreichs actually discouraged Yudel Mark from including etymologies in the GDYL, probably in order to inhibit the users’ component consciousness. 19 19 For now, until Paul Wexler publishes his etymological dictionary, the only convenient etymological reference works are the GDYL and Astravukh’s remarkable matzah-covered Yiddish-Belarusian dictionary. Aleksander Astravukh, Yidish-vaysrusisher verterbukh, Minsk: Medisont, 2008.

Unlike most words, which were either borrowed from elsewhere or whose origins are lost in the fog of history, neologisms usually have a clear-cut origin: they were invented by a specific author on a specific occasion. Some lucky neologisms may be adopted more widely and enter the category of normal words; but usually their existence is ephemeral: they live and die the moment they are created. On the other hand, once they are committed to writing, there is always the possibility of reviving them—especially if they are made widely accessible by being included in a dictionary. Yudel Mark collected many neologisms for the GDYL simply by asking poets and writers to send him lists of their coinages, and many of the words Schaechter collected from the press and from literature were also new. Why should the inventiveness of Introspectivist poets, hack journalists, and the authors of Soviet Yiddish textbooks go to waste? If the coinages were made available, people might use them.

Perhaps the future digital version of the CEYD could include brief etymologies and information on the provenance of the neologisms; it is useful to know which words actually are neologisms as well as the identity of their creators. It is perhaps unrealistic to expect earliest citations in the manner of the Oxford English Dictionary, but much relevant information could be gleaned from Schaechter’s kartotek (now located in YIVO’s off-site storage facility in Newark, NJ).

Ideally, new words should be constructed according to the language’s usual rules of word formation, and with a certain acoustic and visual harmony, a good sense of how the words sound and look on the page. Judging the adequacy of a given neologism is largely a matter of taste, and there is no use pretending that such judgments have any sort of scientific validity. Nevertheless, it seems appropriate here not only to give examples of neologisms and of the mechanisms by which they are created, but also to express my own opinion of them, whether good, bad, or indifferent. Different readers will have different opinions, but reviewers, at least, should be willing to express them. If I were really worth my salt as a reviewer, I would here suggest better alternatives to the neologisms that fail to persuade me. But constructing new words and phrases is difficult work, of the sort for which advertising people are paid big money. It requires technical linguistic knowledge, creative imagination, a good ear, and plain luck—all of which Schaechter and the editors exhibit in abundance.

It is difficult to estimate the number of neologisms in the CEYD, both because they are not labeled and because they are usually formed from existing words and morphemes. A good neologism should make immediate sense and look familiar, even if nobody has ever used it before. For the purpose of this review, I tend to overestimate the number of neologisms by treating as such any terms that are not found in a search of Google Books and of previous lexicographic works (especially Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus and the MYEEYD—though both contain many neologisms of their own), and that look and feel like neologisms. Certainly, many of the words listed below may just be rare, rather than new, and many of the real neologisms were coined by other writers, rather than by Schaechter or the editors.

From an analysis of just one page picked at random, I once estimated that seven percent of the words are neologisms, 20 20 “A verterbukh farn 21stn yorhundert,” Forverts, July 17, 2016. The page was 166, which contains 164 words and expressions, of which I alleged twelve to be neologisms—though perhaps they are actually not all new: dos tsinderl “cigarette lighter” (this appears to be authentic), dos tsilyar-kerperl “ciliary body,” der zotlpas “cinch,” der multikino “cineplex,” der guf-zeyger “circadian rhythm,” der oytomatisher oysshliser “circuit breaker,” di krayzlogik “circular logic,” der kaylekh-orbit “circular orbit,” der farshpreyt-opteyl “circulation department,” der farshpreyt-farvalter “circulation manager,” di blutgefes-sistem “circulatory system,” opiglen “circumscribe.” and the editors seem to be comfortable with that figure. 21 21 Schaechter-Viswanath also gives the figure of 7% new coinages in an interview with Aaron Lansky, “The Maximalist’s Daughter,” PaknTreger 75 (2017), 29. Now, after examining some other pages, I think my estimate may have been too high. But, on the other hand, as a rule, the neologisms must be undercounted, because they usually appear only once within the whole volume, while regular words often occur multiple times. 22 22 For example, the verbs geyn “to go” and makhn “to make” occur 379 and 1004 different times, respectively. Assuming my high initial estimate and that the CEYD contains about twelve neologisms per page, the total (12 x 826 pages) would be almost ten thousand neologisms. In fact, the number is probably significantly smaller, but surely there are thousands, rather than hundreds—many times more than have ever appeared in previous Yiddish dictionaries.

Some neologisms which turned out very well, I think, include “catch (ball game)” der khapbal, “tell-all” dos loshn-hore-bukh, and “toastmaster” der bal-lekhayim. Some are hilarious, like “slacker” moyshe rebeynes arbeter and “butt-dial” onklingen al-pi tokhes (a play on al-pi toes “by mistake”). Other good ones are: “battle of wills” der ver-vemen, “beta male” der beta-zokher, “bok choy” di khinezishe kroyt, “bologna” der bolonyer vursht, “bouncer” der aroysvarfer, “bundle of joy” dos nakhesl, “cameo role” dos rolkele, “cheerleading squad” di hura-komande, “construction paper” dos mol-un-sher-papir, “crosstown bus” der durkhshtotisher oytobus, “flash drive” der shlisldisk, “garbage disposal (unit)” der mistshlinger, and “teleprompter” der telesuflyor.

One advantage that Yiddish has over English is that it has been less subject to Latin and Greek influence, partly because Jews have had their own classical languages to draw upon: Hebrew and Aramaic. Many words that are opaque in English, especially scientific terms, become transparent in Yiddish translation, even where the English term is long established and the Yiddish may be a neologism. Take, for example, the “ankylosaur” pantser-dinozaver, “axillary hair” pakhvehor, “hypogalactia” der milkh-doykhek, “ischemia” der farknapter bluttsushtel, and “septum” dos noz-sheydventl. The same goes for some less common words of non-classical origin like “Hobson’s choice” di breyre on a breyre, “octoroon” der akhtl shvartser, “slattern” di drabke, di dripke, di tshukht, di shlumperke, and my favorite: “zucchetto” di (katoylishe) yarmlke. 23 23 Other words that are more intelligible in Yiddish include: “clerestory” der likhtgorn, “ecocide” di svive/natur-tseshterung, “emesis basin” dos brekh-shisele, “exhibition game” der nisht-giltiker matsh, “gluteus maximus” der groyser zitsmuskl, “hypoglycemia” der nideriker bluttsuker, “ipso facto” mit dem fakt gufe, “protasis” der oyb-zats, “psittacosis” di popugay-krenk, “puffery” di moyl-melokhe, “tellural” erd….

On the other hand, some of the less felicitous neologisms are, in my opinion: “big bang” der groyser zets, “chastity belt” der umshuldpas, “cyberspace” der kibereter, “glitterati” blishtshendike layt, “scholar-in-residence” der aynvoyn-gelernter (but gast-gelernter is good), and “generation Y-er” der ben-dor-igrek. 24 24 For more infelicitous neologisms, see Appendix 2 below.

There are some cases where the editors decided to discard neologisms, especially from the MYEEYD, (e.g., U. Weinreich’s dos iberalts “overalls” and dos shulfeld “campus’—which sounds like a cemetery). If a given neologism has not found (m)any takers in fifty years, there is no great danger in replacing it. 25 25 The CEYD translates “campus” simply as der kampus, while “overalls” are di spetskleydung, di kombinatsye, or der kombinezon, which all sound authentic. There are also cases where the objects named by the neologisms have since become obsolete, like “diskette/floppy” der veykher disk, der beygevdisk, and “videocassette recorder” der video-rekordirer.

The CEYD offers readers an intensive course in Yiddish word formation, and in Schaechter’s principles for coining new terms.

One of his favorite means was rhyme, half rhyme, or assonance, both in individual words (like “kowtow,” “helter-skelter”), and in aphorisms and expressions (“an apple a day keeps the doctor away”). Yiddish has many such phrases, such as the words for “topsy-turvy” (moyshe-)kapoyer, hidrekh-pidrekh, horn-korn; “tic-tac-toe” iks-miks-driks, shure-bure, shur-bur-kile, orde-borde-shorde; “cat’s cradle” etl-betl; “do or die” royt oder toyt.

Some of the new (half-)rhyming words have charm, like “brainpower” der moyekh-koyekh, “eating contest” der fresfarmest, “hockey stick” der hokishtok, “ivy/vine” kleter-bleter, “near-beer” dos shier-bir, “sword swallower” der meser-freser, “walk/don’t walk sign” der/di gey-shtey-shild; likewise the phrases “it cuts both ways” s’iz a shtekn mit tsvey ekn, “all flash and no dash” a sakh blits, veynik hits, “talk is cheap/you’re all talk” fun zogn vert men nisht trogn, “been there, done that!” shoyn geven un gezen!, “neither a borrower nor a lender be” layen un borgn makhn groyse zorgn, “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” af morgn vet got zorgn.

Other times, the rhyme or assonance may seem too cute or clumsy: “investment banker” der investir-bankir, “jack-in-the-box” dos yingl-shpringl, “love handle” di balye arum der talye, der shmaltsgartl, “a quickie divorce” der ekspres-get, “rags-to-riches story” di mayse fun a parkh a monarkh, “splashguard” der shpritsshits, “stress and strain” der drik-un-shtik, “trash talk” reytsreyd.

A second of Schaechter’s favorite devices is alliteration, which works well in: “cattleprod” der shtekhshtekn, “idiot savant” der goen-goylem, “union suit” gantse gatkes. But often it may seem forced or artificial: “women’s lib” di froyenfray (in the MYEEYD), “floating voter” der vakl-veyler, “go on a charm offensive” oyspoyln/ibertsaygn mit kheyn un khnife, “racial divide” der rasnris, “food chain” di kormekeyt, “off like a herd of turtles” avek vi a tsherede tsherepakhes, “home run/homer” der kaylekhklap, “honor code” der koved-kodeks, “be incontinent of bowel” zayn on kishke-kontrol, “jetsam” der yam-varfvarg, “life-affirming” lebnlib, “prime time” di (televizye-)shpits-shoen. 26 26 For more cases of (half) rhyme, assonance, and alliteration, see Appendix 3 below.

Another category would include puns and portmanteau words like “menopause” di mener-poyze, grade inflation” di tseykhn-flatsye, “spacesuit” der kosmostyum (from kosmos-kostyum—perhaps in the spirit of “cosmonaut”) “sudden death” der pluts(em)toyt; and words that almost constitute whole sentences in themselves: “jam session” di kumshpil (like kumzits), “tautology” der farshteyt-zikh, “want ad” der gezukht-anons, “tender (painful)” tutveyik (probably authentic, since Stutchkoff has it).

The Yiddish language is endowed with a number of productive prefixes and suffixes capable of forming new words, which language planners have always put to good use. Yudel Mark famously included in his GDYL thousands of potential words without citations, especially ending in -ekhts, -enish, and -eray. Schaechter never produced neologisms in bulk in the same way, but he still prized such affixes for their functional value and for the specific Yiddish character with which they endowed new coinages:

“fan club” di khasidarnye, “eating contest” di fresarnye.

“flammable material” dos brenekhts, “icing” dos bazisekhts, “junk mail” dos postekhts, “tranquilizer” dos baruekhts, dos aynshtilekhts.

“browser (computer)” der bleterer. The suffix can even show up twice: “test pilot” der flier-oyspruver.

“activity center” di aktiveray, “business” dos soykheray, “drumbeat” dos gepoykeray, “fast-food restaurant” di gikh-eseray, “world of finance” dos finantseray (already in the MYEEYD), “health-food store” di gezunteray, “nuclear generating plant” di yoder-elektray, “secretarial work” dos sekretaray, “smoke shop” di reykheray, “word processing” dos vortireray.

“catchy” gedenkevdik, “lethal” hargevdik, “perishable” kalyevdik, “soulful” tif-filevdik, “touchy” baleydevdik, “tough (durable)” oyshaltevdik.

“do drugs” narkoteven, “dumb (down)” farameratseven, “equal out” antkegneven, “to flip-flop” hin-un-krikeven, “French kiss/tongue kiss (verb)” parizeven, “gerrymander” gerimandreven, “instant message” ay-emeven, “to jet (fly)” dzheteven.

“choreography” dos getents, “sewing” dos geney, “suite (of rooms)” dos getsimer.

“baseball player” der beysbolist, “basketball player” der koyshbolist, “bulldozer operator” der buldozerist, “civil libertarian” der birger-frayhaytist, “cricketer” der kriketist, “environmentalist” der svivist, “gossip columnist” der plyotkist, “hockey player” der hokeyist, “soccer player” der futbolist, “star (actor)” der hoyptrolist, “tennis player” der tenisist, “volleyball player” der netsbolist.

-ke (originally diminutive or feminine, but also used—sometimes awkwardly—for various devices):
“application form” di aplikirke, “approval form” di aprobirke, “boombox” di tareramke (!), “caller ID” di identifitsirke, “cash machine” di mezumenke, “cookie-cutter” di kikhl-formlke, “copier” di kopirke, “diving board” di shpringlke, “facsimile machine” di telekopirke, “freezer” di frirke, “jungle gym” di krikhlke (already in the MYEEYD for “monkey bar”), “milkshake” di milkhshoymke, “movie camera” di filmirke, “notepad” di notits-shraybke, “screen reader” di ekran-leyenke, “shake (drink)/smoothie” di shoymke, “smartphone” di klug-mobilke, di klugtselke, “test tube” di prubirke, “transcription machine” di transkribirke, “urinal” di (ha)shtanke (!), “walkie-talkie” di komunikirke, “wave (hair)” di khvalke.

-l (diminutive)
For some of the good neologisms here, the meaning is usually clear even without the -l; like -ke, it may indicate a device of some sort rather than a real diminutive: “feeler” dos taperl, “firefly” dos glierl, dos glimerl, “fish stick” dos fishshnitsl/shnitl, “hearing-aid” dos her-aparatl, “SMS” dos tekstl, “walker (device)” dos geyerl, “watering can” dos giserl. 27 27 For more, see Appendix 4 below.

-ele (second-degree diminutive)
This suffix, often indicating endearment, seems to work best with animals and things that are actually small: “daddy longlegs” dos langfisele, “gummy bear” dos gume-berele, “tablet (comp.)” dos tevele. 28 28 Others include: “byte” dos akhtele, “chimp(anzee)” dos tshimpele, “dime” dos tsenele, “getaway (vacation)” dos vakatsyele, “kindergarten child” dos kinder-gortele (!), “mudpie” dos blotkele, “Q-tip” dos vatkele.

“ride the surf, go surfing” indlen zikh (already in the MYEEYD), “text (verb)” tekstlen, “tote a gun” zayn babikslt.

“rechargeable” krikonlodlekh (!).

Good is “garbage collector” der mistler, where -ler adds the agentive sense and simple -er would be a homonym with mister. 29 29 Others include: “can opener” der ufblekhler, “fighter jet” der farnikhtler, “ice skater” der glitshler, “keypunch” der lekhler, “member of a landing party” der desantler, “surfer” der indler.

“minion” der unterling.

One of Schaechter’s favorite suffixes, very common in Eastern European Yiddish, -nik even entered English in “beatnik” and “refusenik”—which are re-Yiddishized in the CEYD to der bitnik, der refyuznik. In America, at least, it seems mostly to have lost its productivity, and many of the neologisms here seem a bit strained (especially the sports terminology). But it seems appropriate—perhaps because it sounds informal—in terms like “conciliator” der roydefsholemnik, “freelancer” der farzikhnik, and “work-study student” der arbet-shtudirnik. 30 30 For more, see Appendix 5 below.

-nitse (feminine version of -nik)
This applies to many of the words listed above, as well as to some specifically feminine terms: “cookie jar” di kikhlnitse, “femme fatale” di yeytser-horenitse.

As noted above, Yudel Mark coined -(e)nish words with gusto, but Schaechter was much more restrained, e.g., “baby boom” dos tsekindlenish.

Perhaps Schaechter’s favorite suffix of all, varg is itself a rare noun meaning “stuff, material” (and has the added benefit of having no exact correlate in Standard German—unlike its evil twin, shtof). With such a general definition, varg is eminently suitable to form neologisms — and yet there is in it some lingering coarse quality (perhaps because it rhymes with vargn “to choke”) which makes it stylistically better suited to designate folksy, simple things like “shoeware” dos shikhvarg, or “hosiery” dos zoknvarg (in the MYEEYD), rather than modern technical terms like “graphics” dos bildvarg, “nuclear material” dos yodervarg, “visuals” dos (ba)vayzvarg, zevarg. In the case of “intimates (clothing)” dos intimvarg, the -varg does not add any romantic nuance. It seems to work best when it designates an undifferentiated mass, as in “linguistic material” dos shprakhvarg. It also seems better somehow when it corresponds to an English word ending in “-ware,” like “crystalware” dos krishtolvarg, “enamelware” dos emalvarg, “kitchenware” dos kikhvarg; though perhaps not in technical terms like “software” dos programvarg, “encryption software” dos shifrirvarg, “freeware” dos bekhinemvarg, “shareware” dos beshutfesvarg, “spyware” dos shpionirvarg. 31 31 For more -varg, see Appendix 6 below.

Another handy mechanism for coining new terms in Yiddish is transforming a verb into a noun by removing the verbal ending -(e)n and leaving just the root, e.g., “burglary” der araynbrekh, “call-forwarding” der klung-ibershik etc. 32 32 Others: “breast augmentation” der brust-fargreser, “carjacking” der oyto-farkhap, “chaser (drink)” der fartrink, “chute” der aroploz, “condemnation (jur.)” der farmishpet, “cover-up” der sod-fardek, “discernment” der iberklayb, “enlargement (Photo.)” der fargreser, “exposure (photo.)” der balaykht, “liposuction” der fets-aroystsi, der fetsoyszoyg, “malpractice insurance” di strakhirung/farzikherung far krum-bahandl, “nuclear fusion” der yodershmelts, “reference point” der oryentir, “tackle (football play)” der blokir, “urban sprawl” der shtottsevaks. This is fairly common in Yiddish, yet many of the neologisms still sound a bit forced and might be improved with the (Germanizing?) suffix -ung. Such verbal root forms seem a bit more natural when they are attached to other nouns: “deadly force” der harge-koyekh, “mixer (social)” di baken-simkhe etc. 33 33 Others: “baby-boom generation” der tsekindl-dor, “crime wave” di farbrekh-khvalye, “impeachment hearing” der aynshuldik-farher, “projectile vomiting” dos shprits-oysbrekhn, “research and development” di forsh-un-antviklung, “test pilot” der pruvflier, pruvpilot.

What is Missing?

It is more difficult to write about what is missing in the CEYD, because absences are not immediately noticeable when consulting a giant tome like this one. A reasonable reader would have to conclude that the dictionary is comprehensive enough and that there is no need to add even more words, especially words of questionable authenticity. Because Yiddish speakers live or have lived all over the world and have freely borrowed words, phrases, and whole sentences from the local languages (more in speech than in writing), there is potentially no limit to the number of loans from English, Spanish, French, Russian etc. that could be included in a Yiddish dictionary. Nevertheless, some loan words are better integrated into the language than others, as is most evident if they are also used outside of their countries of origin. For example, Eastern European Jews also used Anglicisms like der miting “rally” and der lider “leader” (which were both probably borrowed through Russian, rather than from English directly).

The relatively small share of Slavisms in the dictionary (a general impression that I have not tried to measure) is not overly surprising, since the Holocaust ended the central role of Eastern Europe in Jewish life almost seventy-five years ago. In the United States and Israel, which have become the new centers, it is only natural that Yiddish-speakers have forgotten many old Slavisms and adopted many new Americanisms and Hebraisms in their place. More problematic is the dictionary’s lack of such Americanisms, Germanisms, and Hebraisms as are in use among Hasidim today, or that were once very widespread (see examples below). Hasidic Yiddish, the ethnolect/religiolect of many ultra-Orthodox (which, given their demographic predominance, we could just call contemporary Yiddish) is also missing here.

There is very little from Modern Hebrew/Ivrit, which is surprising, because of the enormous influence of Israel on Jewish life worldwide, even on those ultra-Orthodox who explicitly reject Zionism. Haredi Yiddish in Israel is even more fully saturated with Hebraisms than Hasidic Yiddish in America is with Americanisms, partly because Yiddish is almost exclusively a spoken language for Israeli Haredim. 34 34 In Israel, the ultra-Orthodox but non-Hasidic Jerusalemites also speak Yiddish, for which reason the term Haredi Yiddish is more appropriate. Assouline notes that among the Israeli Haredi groups she studies, “[r]eading and writing in Yiddish are restricted mainly to young girls.” Dalit Assouline, Contact and Ideology in a Multilingual Community, Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2017, 14. Among the few words that I noticed in the dictionary are der kneset “Knesset” (spelled traditionally כּנסת), miluim “reserves (Israeli)” (along with Yiddishized der miluimnik “reservist”), and der uzi “Uzi” (spelled with an Ayin עוזי in honor of the inventor). Even a word like khumus “hummus” is written phonetically כומוס, because it is originally from Arabic, rather than from Hebrew.


Americanisms first became an important feature of modern Yiddish with the beginning of the great migration of Eastern European Jews to America in 1881. Most Jewish immigrants came quite young and without any formal education in Yiddish, so that American English had a more profound effect on their speech than on that of some other immigrant groups. English quickly came to constitute another major component of the language, almost as much as Slavic languages had been earlier. With constant borrowing and code-switching between languages, many immigrants spoke a sort of Yiddish-English hybrid—somewhat like the Spanglish that is spoken by many Latin American immigrants today. But unlike Spanglish, Americanisms also entered more formal Yiddish registers, such as the language used in some newspapers (especially the Forverts) and on the radio—the so-called “potato” Yiddish frowned upon by purists. Today’s American-born Hasidim have inherited many of the same features from the immigrant generations.

No highbrow writers or language planners have ever approved of writing Americanisms as enthusiastically as regular people have used them in speech. But whatever lack of linguistic discipline or other failings may be involved in their use, Americanisms in Yiddish have been a fact of Jewish life for almost 140 years and Yiddish dictionaries need to reckon with them. Given the facts of Hasidic geography and demography, the Americanisms seem likely to remain for the foreseeable future.

At first glance, the number of Americanisms in the CEYD seems generous enough, although only a relative handful are actually labeled as such. 35 35 Just twenty-six Americanisms are labeled am’: der amendment, der kartun “cartoon,” der kartunist, der kokus “caucus,” der siriel “cereal,” der tati “daddy,” der establishment, der forman “foreman,” oysyentsn “fuck over,” der laym “lime,” der meyor “mayor,” pedlen “peddle,” der pedler, dos pedleray, der printsipal “principal (school),” der prayvet “private (mil.),” der rabay “Rabbi (Reform),” yentsn “screw (have sex),” singl “single (unmarried),” der singl, ser “sir,” der slek “slack season,” seynt-… “St./Saint,” der strayk “strike,” der strayker “striker,” di/der sobvey “subway.” An additional eight are labeled (Am.): “football” der futbol, “football player” der futbolist, “greenhorn” der grinhorn, “landlady” di lendlerke, “landlord” der lendler, “next-door neighbor” der nekstdoriker, “nouveau riche/parvenu” der olraytnik, “pay” di peyde. But a comparison with Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus, which contains over a thousand Americanisms, shows that some important ones are missing. Most of the Americanisms in the CEYD are given the way most Yiddish-speakers say (or said) them, with the minimum of phonological and morphological changes necessary in order to make them Yiddish words: “lawn tennis” der lontenis; sometimes by adding a Yiddish affix, like the verbal suffix -(e)n: “impeach” impitshn, “kidnap” kidnepn, etc. 36 36 For more straight Americanisms, see Appendix 7 below.

Besides these “straight” Americanisms, there are a number that appear in modified, more Yiddishized form, often with parts of the original replaced with the Yiddish equivalent: “backfield” dos bekfeld, “breakdancing” der breyktants; or by adding a Yiddish suffix like -ist or -irn (sometimes awkwardly): “hitchhiker” der trempist, “knock out (boxing)” nokautirn, “lock out (worker)” lokautirn. Some of these Yiddishized Americanisms are cute, like “earmuff” di oyer-mufke, “kidnapping” di kidnepung, or “blues” di bluzmuzik (with -z instead of -s, which calls to mind blozn, Southern Yiddish bluzn “to blow,” e.g., an instrument). Sometimes the changes to the normal form seem gratuitous, especially in the midst of an English-speaking society. For example, in a number of Americanisms the stress has been shifted from the usual syllable, often to the end of the word:, “co-op” der koóp, “fox terrier” der foksteryér, “foxtrot” der fokstrót, “combine/harvester” der kombáyn, “hockey” der hokéy (along with der hóki), “moped” der mopéd, “picket (in strike)” der pikét, “striptease” der striptíz, “brownie” der braúni. Weird are also the cases where the Americanism is imagined to have come into Yiddish by way of a Slavic intermediary: “hash tag” der kheshteg, “hatchback” der khetshbek, with initial kh- as in Russian (which, unlike Yiddish, lacks the sound /h/). 37 37 For more “Yiddishized” Americanisms, see Appendix 8 below.

Some of the Americanisms missing from the CEYD are quite important, like boytshik “boy” and glaykhn meaning “to like,” which are still heard with alarming frequency. Also missing are badern “bother,” trobl “trouble,” mufn “move,” and even tiket “ticket.” Because Yiddish in America borrowed mainly from the r-less New York dialect, 38 38 R-less or non-rhotic refers to the lack of /r/ in postvocalic environments, when it is not followed by another vowel. A classic example is the Boston pronunciation “park the car in Harvard Yard” [paːk ðə ˈkaːɹ‿ɪn ˈhaːvəd ˈjaːd]. R-less dialects cover most of the American South, as well as England, Australia etc. a number of characteristic Americanisms are also r-less: der kvoder “quarter,” di henketshe “handkerchief,” di piktshe “picture,” pritikle “particular.” Of these, the CEYD lists only the first (along with der kvoderbek “quarterback”). Even some Americanisms that were adopted in a modified, more Yiddishized form are missing: di remnitse “(cloth) remnant,” dantan “downtown” and dantaner (though der dauntaun is included), aptan “uptown,” vut “vote” and vutn (along with vout and voutn), smuker “smoker” and smukn “to smoke” (along with smoker and smokn). I regret the lack of these old-timey Americanisms, which millions of ordinary Jews used, which many Hasidim still say today, and which have an authentic Yiddish flavor. 39 39 For more Americanisms missing from the CEYD, see Appendix 9 below.


There is no space here to detail a thousand years of Yiddish-German language contact (which continues even today, in an attenuated form, for example, in the Haredi communities of Vienna and Zurich). In his influential article “The Hidden Standard,” Schaechter showed how German played a major role in the development of modern literary Yiddish by serving as a model of correctness. 40 40 Mordkhe Schaechter, “The “Hidden Standard’: A Study of Competing Influences in Standardization,” The Field of Yiddish, Third Collection, 1969, 284-304. Where Yiddish dialects offered different terms or different forms of the same word, early writers and editors typically selected the word or form that was most like Standard German, which was felt to be more correct: im “him,” rather than em; tsvishn “between,” rather than tsishn etc. As lapsed yeshiva students, many of them were autodidacts who had acquired much of their secular education from German books. As a result, a heavily Germanized form of Yiddish known as daytshmerish became fashionable in the late nineteenth century, and continued to influence the American Yiddish press until the late twentieth century. The influence of German was most acute within the Austro-Hungarian Empire—coincidentally, the territories where the families of many of today’s Hasidim originate. As a result, many old Germanisms, which a Weinreich might have expected to have gone out of use by now, are still alive and well and living in Brooklyn.

At first glance, the CEYD appears to make a good effort to include Germanisms—perhaps even more generously than one would expect of Schaechter, an inveterate foe of daytshmerish. The Germanisms, marked with a black circle ●, are more clearly visible on the page than are other categories of words. But only 274 words in total are so marked—and many are repeated several times. A closer inspection reveals that, strictly speaking, most of these are hardly Germanisms at all—at least not by the standards of M. Weinreich, who marked some 2500 other Germanisms with a similar symbol (a black triangle ▾) in Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus. 41 41 To read the words labeled Germanisms in the CEYD but unmarked in Stutuchkoff’s Thesaurus (and therefore acceptable by M. Weinreich’s standards), see Appendix 10 below. Ten of these words are important enough to figure in the titles of the various sections into which Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus is divided; presumably, M. Weinreich would not have allowed the use of gross Germanisms in the titles and subtitles of an official YIVO publication. 42 42 Group 187: onkum, dernenterung, dershaynung “arrival, approach, appearance,” Group 456: hershaft “rule,” Group 457: umhershaft “lawlessness,” Group 467: umfolgevdikayt, vidershtand “disobedience, resistance,” Group 471: forshlog “suggestions,” Group 476: eygns, bazits “property, ownership” Group 495: derfolg, gevin, nitsokhn “success, winning, victory,” Group 507: farshvenderishkayt “profligacy,” Group 540: mut, aynshtelerishkayt “courage, audacity,” Group 572: fargebung “forgiving.” On the other hand, M. Weinreich labeled some words as Germanisms which are unmarked in the CEYD. But his use of the symbol ▾ is not entirely consistent: many words are only marked in some contexts, but not in others. Most of the remaining terms marked as Germanisms in the CEYD are only so marked part of the time in Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus. 43 43umbagrayflekh “unknowable (truths),” bildn “educate” (not a Germanism with this meaning), gebildet “educated,” nisht-gebildet “uncultured/uneducated,” di/dos geburt “birth,” dershtoynen “astound,” (der)shtoynen “be amazed,” di dershtoynung “amazement,” dershtoynendik “amazing/astounding,” dervartn “expect,” di dervartung “expectation,” eygntlekh “actually (in fact),” dos eygntum “property (possessions)” (only marked in the word eygntum-rekht), eynzam “lonely,” forshlogn “propose (suggest),” kegnzaytik “mutual/reciprocal,” di kegnzaytikayt “reciprocity,” leyzn “resolve (problem)/solve,” di leyzung “resolution (solution)/solution (to problem),” di shlukht “gulch/ravine.” Two of these even figure in the section titles: Group 229 (geburt) and Group 535 (hofenung, dervartung). This reduces the number of “hard-core” Germanisms given in the CEYD to a short list. 44 44 There are only nineteen “hard-core” Germanisms: der geburtstog “birthday,” di derfarung “experience (knowledge),” di derfindung “invention,” derleydikn “take care of (a matter),” dershitern “shock (psych.),” endern “change,” di enderung “change,” fayern “celebrate (holiday),” forzikhtik “careful/cautious,” di forzikhtikayt “caution,” di gefar “danger/peril,” di misfarshtendenish “misapprehension/misunderstanding,” nebn “be near (close),” oyser “apart from/except (for),” rayf “mature/ripe” di rayfkayt “ripeness,” di vare “fabric,” vidmen “dedicate,” dos yidntum “Jewry.” Of course, back in the heyday of Yiddish culture, most writers would have seen nothing wrong with these words either, and many reviewers criticized M. Weinreich’s purism as extreme. But whether his fault lay in excessive strictness or excessive laxity, at least he allowed the Germanisms to be listed and trusted readers to use their own judgment.

Some of the most popular Germanisms are missing from the CEYD; words like shtunde “hour,” yetst “now,” befor “before,” lezn “read,” and iberal “everywhere.” The verbs denken “think” and aynladn “invite” are nowhere to be found (though the noun form dos denken “thinking” is listed). There is no dankbarkayt “gratitude,” no gebayde “building,” no ekldik “disgusting,” no ibung “exercise” (the normal word, before M. Weinreich invented di genitung)—and many more. 45 45 For a short selection of missing Germanisms, see Appendix 11. In addition, some of the Germanisms included are hidden away, as it were, under less popular English headwords. 46 46batonen appears under “lay emphasis on,” but not under “stress” or “emphasize”—the editors prefer aroysheybn and untershtraykhn; der bazitser appears under “possessor,” but not under “owner”—the editors prefer der farmoger; der shtandpunkt appears under “standpoint” and “viewpoint,” but not under “perspective”—they prefer der kukvinkl; forshlogn appears under “propose (suggest),” but not under “suggest”—they prefer firleygn; folkstimlekh appears under “demotic” (who would look that up?), but not under “folksy”—they prefer poshet-folkish.

As with the Yiddishized Americanisms, some Germanisms have been modified in order to appear less like German: “bullfight” der oksnfekht (not oksnkamf); “concluding remarks” di shlisverter (not shlusverter); “declaration of war” di milkhome-deklaratsye, di krigsmeldung (not -derklerung); “hokum” der umzinen (not umzin—though umzinen is not new); “hound” der shpurhunt (not shpirhunt); “short circuit” der kurtsshlos (not kurtsshlus). On the other hand, in one case the editors eliminated a specifically Yiddish form: “Gestapo” di gestapo with an /s/, which is correct German—but which Yiddish speakers usually pronounced geshtapo with a /ʃ/.

Even though few Yiddish speakers today live in contact with German, daytshmerish remains an issue for Yiddish lexicography because many students (like myself) come to Yiddish after learning some German. Such students require some guidance when consulting a Yiddish dictionary in order to select the most appropriate word in any given case, rather than leaping straight to the term familiar from German. The various symbols and labels serve that purpose—although they are not nuanced enough, because some Germanisms are worse than others. It would useful to differentiate (as in the MYEEYD): ▾ for the mild Germanisms, ● for the more glaring examples. In any case, sometimes the most appropriate term ends up being a Germanism anyway, so a comprehensive dictionary should offer them in abundance—just as Stutchkoff and M. Weinreich did in their Thesaurus.

Sex Terminology

To their credit, the editors of the CEYD have not shied away from taboo words—and neither should reviewers. While the CEYD is frugal with Germanisms and Americanisms, other categories of words are offered more plentifully. The reader is struck especially by the abundance of sports, medical, and sex terminology. 47 47 Editor Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath’s professional occupation as a nurse may partly explain the abundance of medical terms. Dr. Zackary Sholem Berger, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, also contributed in this area. The sports terms are probably just wishful thinking, but there are many doctors serving the ultra-Orthodox community who could actually have use of such a dictionary. The sex terms are likely to interest almost everybody, though they are obviously a problematic element for many ultra-Orthodox readers. Speaking just for myself, I learned many things that I did not even know in English.

It is very possible that Schaechter began collecting sex terminology while on the ship to America in August 1951. He later recalled that he brought along from Vienna his card file containing a few thousand linguistic observations, but it was on the ship that he encountered for the first time representatives of the Jewish underclass. He relished the “opportunity to record the Yiddish four-letter words used only amongst men, that women usually don’t hear, or various expressions that you would classify as slang in English.” 48 48 A transcript of Schaechter speaking about his life (see footnote 5). I have regularized the spelling. He filed away the sex terms that he discovered over the following half century into a separate card catalogue, and finally the CEYD has made many of them available.

It is difficult to determine which terms are neologisms and which were actually used, for example, in the once-infamous Jewish sex industry and underworld. But as a public service to all who might be interested in such things, I have gathered them all below into one convenient list (see Appendix 12). It is a grab bag of anatomical terms, humorous expressions, playful euphemisms, and vulgarisms. Are (m)any of these words still current in the Hasidic community, or have other euphemisms risen in their place? One point of criticism may be that many of the sexy words do not sound particularly sexy in Yiddish: “hot (sexy)” reytsndik, yeytser-horedik, “pillow talk” der betshmues, “sex addict” der erotoman, seksoman, “sex show” dos sekseray. On the other hand, most of these do not sound very sexy in English either...


The category of vulgarisms partly overlaps with the sex terminology, but also ventures into scatological, blasphemous, and otherwise offensive territory. Here, again, the editors have had no compunctions about offering everything in the Yiddish arsenal, unless it happens to be daytshmerish. 49 49 For example, missing is the Germanism shayse “shit,” shaysn “to shit,” shayser “shitter.”

Although the most popular Yiddishisms used in English would seem to attest otherwise, Yiddish is actually a rather polite language, certainly within the ultra-Orthodox communities that speak it today. But back when millions of penniless Jews toiled in sweatshops and peddled their wares on street corners, there were plenty of foul-mouthed characters—some of whose profanities are recorded in Stutchkoff’s Thesaurus, which contains six pages of curses. The most popular vulgarism seems to have been tokhes “ass,” which Stutchkoff lists 37 times (not counting compounds), far ahead of drek “shit” (17), shvants “dick” (10), and trenen “to fuck” (9). The CEYD does not quite match Stutchkoff here, but it comes closer than any other dictionary. 50 50 The frequency of the same words in the CEYD: tokhes (21), drek (6), shvants (7), trenen (5). It is a vast improvement over the prudish MYEEYD, which leaves out Yiddish vulgarisms that are even common in English, partly because it was originally meant to be a student dictionary. Some of Stutchkoff’s more playful vulgarisms did not make it into the CEYD, unfortunately, like the synonym for “diarrhea” a yarid in di hoyzn (lit. “a bazaar in one’s pants”), or pishn mit boyml “be holier-than-thou” (lit. “piss with oil”), or the very wrong saying az di alte moyd geyt tantsn geyen di klezmorim pishn “when the old maid goes to dance, the musicians take a piss.”

To my ears, at least, the CEYD’s Yiddish translations of English vulgarisms rarely pack the same punch as the English originals. Much of the negative emotive quality is lacking somehow in such examples as “faggot (homosexual/slg./pej.)” dos feygele, “he’s a fucking idiot” er iz a shoyte un a nar, “shit” dos drek, der tinef, “shithead” der kaker. The n-word is, I think, mistranslated as der shokher, which is basically innocent in Yiddish (unmarked in Stutchkoff, for example). Although the Yiddishism shvartser “black man” is usually offensive when said in English, it is not necessarily pejorative in the original Yiddish—and neither is der neger “Negro,” the term still given in U. Weinreich’s College Yiddish, first published in 1949. Katz nevertheless calls both terms “archaic and with the best of intentions questionable in today’s use.” 51 51 Dovid Katz, Yiddish Cultural Dictionary (under “African American (n.)”), 2018. Accessed May 26, 2018. (The preferred term is afroamerikaner.) There has never been a semantic study of the matter, as far as I know, but it seems there is no adequate Yiddish equivalent for the English slur. Because racism is still a serious problem in the ultra-Orthodox community (not to speak of other communities), such a study would not be without contemporary relevance. 52 52 For other vulgarisms and related terms, see Appendix 13 below.

Hasidic Yiddish

Schaechter and the editors appear to have made little effort to reflect Hasidic Yiddish in their dictionary—an important oversight. Hasidim make up the vast majority of the Yiddish speech community—and a much larger share of people who actually read and write Yiddish. In an alternative universe where things made sense, the Hasidim would constitute the natural readership for a comprehensive English-Yiddish dictionary and the main target for language planning efforts. After all, no matter how many hundreds or thousands of secular students take part in college classes and summer programs, only a small number will ever write anything in Yiddish longer than a homework assignment. The CEYD enables ambitious students to advance more quickly in mastering the language, but demography is destiny and the future of Yiddish belongs to the Hasidim even more than the present.

Strange as it may sound, Hasidim are also the main hope for secular Yiddish culture. A certain percentage of ultra-Orthodox young people choose to modernize and/or secularize, and although they usually wish to integrate into the English-speaking mainstream, they are easily capable of cultivating secular Yiddish culture in some form, if they find in it something of interest. On the other hand, if the remaining secular Yiddish institutions (to the extent that they actually do anything in Yiddish) ignore or disrespect the language and culture with which these modernizing Hasidic young people grew up, they will find plenty of other things out there to occupy their time.

The term “Hasidic Yiddish” simplifies a more complicated reality and in this review usually refers to the so-called “Hungarian” variety spoken in American Hasidic enclaves like Williamsburg and Boro Park. These are the largest communities that not only speak Yiddish, but also read it, write it, and are culturally productive in it—more so than their Israeli brethren. There are related varieties spoken in Israel, Antwerp, London, and elsewhere. The ultra-Orthodox but non-Hasidic Jerusalemites, on the other hand, speak a Northeastern (Lithuanian) dialect which has been heavily influenced by Modern Hebrew. 53 53 Assouline, Contact and Ideology in a Multilingual Community, 8. Most Hasidim of Litvak origin, like Chabad and Karlin-Stolin, today mainly speak English or Hebrew.

American Hasidic Yiddish descends mainly from the Eastern Transcarpathian dialect, a subdialect of Central (Polish) Yiddish that was geographically and culturally the furthest removed from the cultivated Yiddish of the secular Vilna intelligentsia—what most YIVO linguists meant by “Standard Yiddish.” 54 54 The classic study of the Transcarpathian dialect is by U. Weinreich, “Western Traits in Transcarpathian Yiddish,” For Max Weinreich, The Hague: Mouton, 1964, 245-264. That the Eastern Transcarpathian dialect was the furthest removed from “YIVO Yiddish” is not technically true, since Western Yiddish dialects in Alsace and Switzerland were even more distant and different. But Transcarpathia was culturally much more traditional due to the presence of the ultra-Orthodox. Besides some dialect peculiarities, Germanisms, and a significant Hungarian element inherited from the Old Country, American Hasidic Yiddish also has an expanded Hebrew component (both loshn-koydesh and Ivrit), and a huge number of Americanisms. Because of certain vowel shifts in their dialect, the Hebrew component of Hasidic Yiddish—which could fill a dictionary of its own—is pronounced quite differently from the transcription indicated in our dictionaries (e.g., the prayer “avinu malkeinu” is uvini malkayni).

Unfortunately for language planners, Hasidim are socially, culturally, and linguistically very conservative—which is the reason they still speak Yiddish in the first place. Unlike many secular Jews, they do not make much use of dictionaries. Serious Yiddish writers among them may hide a copy of the CEYD behind the oversized volumes of the Talmud, but the sex terms, vulgarisms, and the lack of an official rabbinic approbation (haskome) may prevent a wider Hasidic readership. It is perhaps unrealistic to expect a second “glatt kosher” edition just for the ultra-Orthodox market (though it would be a good idea), but at least in the future online version of the dictionary it should be simple enough to add an optional kosher filter.

Many of the words characteristic of Hasidic Yiddish are missing from the CEYD—as can be seen from a list of such terms compiled in a Facebook group some years ago by Frieda Viezel with other members of the OTD (“Off The Derech,” i.e. ex-Orthodox) community. 55 55 Accessed September 16, 2017. Like other speakers of Central (Polish) Yiddish, Hasidim often use the plural second-person pronoun ets/enk “you” (which, unlike the standard ir/aykh, cannot be used as a polite singular). Besides many of the Germanisms discussed above (yetst “now,” befor “before” etc.), they also use some older dialectal terms like endersh “rather, preferably” and shtat “slow” (rather than pamelekh or pavolye); and some more recent “slang” like rayser (/ra:sər/) “someone who tries to be cool,” shtati “cool, chic,” and perhaps also fekhi “gross” and futshi “sopping wet.” Hasidim use a number of words from Hungarian, often with a modified, Yiddishized pronunciation. 56 56budzhi “underpants, panties” (bugyi), bundash “French toast” (bundás kenyar “coated bread”), fanken “donut” (fánk), kontshi “cross-eyed” (kanczal), kotske-tsuker “sugar cube” (kockacukor), lopat “shovel” (lapát), pondzhelo “housecoat, robe women wear in the home” (pongyola), poputshn “slippers” (papucs) tshot “hairpin” (csat), tshilar “chandelier” (csillár), tshinosh “slender, thin” (csinos “good-looking”), tshalamádi “mess, disorder” (csalamádé “sweet-sour vegetable dish”). And for good measure, they also say khalemók “wiseguy, person without sense” (from the famously foolish city of Chełm?), bondlekh “beans,” and zokher-bondlekh “chickpeas” (lit. “male beans”). I thank Äidy Friedman for her help transcribing and translating these words.

Some old words have acquired more specialized meanings in Hasidic Yiddish, which is not always reflected in the CEYD. The term heymish “homey, familiar,” for example, is an important synonym for “Hasidic (i.e., one of us),” just as frum “devout” usually means ultra-Orthodox specifically, rather than any general type of devoutness. Even the term yidishist is used by Hasidim as a catch-all for non-ultra-Orthodox Yiddish-speakers, whether or not they believe that Yiddish is a national language of the Jewish people. Non-Hasidim may object to the way Hasidim have appropriated these words, but a dictionary should also indicate their Hasidic meanings.

Hasidim have their own rich phraseology which deserves inclusion, but I am not familiar enough with it to comment on it. I recently heard (from adults) the curious children’s rhyme khamer-eyzl, puter-eyzl, yinglekh mit meydlekh, which means literally “donkey-donkey, butter-donkey, boys with girls” and is used to taunt mixing of the sexes. The CEYD informs us that, for some reason, khamer-eyzl actually means “womanizer, skirt chaser.”

Among their countless Americanisms (vokn “to walk” etc.) there are some that have since become old-fashioned in English, or that have acquired a modified meaning: bom (bum) “wayward young person lax in observance,” goder (gutter) “road, street,” koutsh “couch” (with the diphthong /ou/ instead of English /au/, just as many Hasidim say Kroun Hayts “Crown Heights”), stim “steam/heating,” tomblsos (tumblesauce) “summersault.” Hasidim have regularized the diminutive suffix -i (as in English doggy, Johnny etc.), especially for family members: der tati “daddy” made it into the CEYD, but they also say mami “mommy,” zeydi “granddad,” babi “grandma,” ketsi “kitty,” pitsi “tiny,” Shloymi “Shlomo” and so on. Given that tens of thousands of little children are using these words right now, the words are likely to outlive us all—and deserve a place in the dictionary.

A Final Word

This review has detailed several areas where the CEYD surpasses all its predecessors, and also a few where it is not quite as comprehensive as it could be. But there is no sense in criticizing it for not being another GDYL, since it was never meant to be one. The CEYD is a magnificent dictionary just as it is, a monumental achievement and an invaluable resource for writers and translators. Thousands of readers have already made use of it, and the future online version (hopefully capable of also operating in reverse, Yiddish to English) will win an even larger readership. The editors and Schaechter’s memory have earned the admiration and thanks of the whole Yiddish world.

By way of a conclusion—which is by no means meant as criticism—an appeal for the sort of dictionary that reflects my own ideal and my own dream (and perhaps not only mine): an even more comprehensive, mainly descriptive bilingual online dictionary that reflects the full historical and dialect variety of the language. My Dream Dictionary (hereafter MDD) would follow normative YIVO orthography and grammar, but would also list a selection of alternative spelling and usage from over the centuries—and still today, especially among the Hasidim. It would include the work of language planners, identify their neologisms and, as much as possible, credit the original creators. The transcription of the pronunciation (of all words, not just loshn-koydesh) would be offered in the various dialects, including YIVO Standard and American Hasidic Yiddish. MDD would have a prominent audio component, allowing users to hear how the words are actually pronounced in the dialects by native speakers—by finally making practical use of the six thousand hours of dialect recordings made for the Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry. The most prominent voice in these recordings is Schaechter’s own, as he was the main interviewer for the project—and the Schaechter family dialect would be a very useful addition, because Southeastern (Ukrainian) Yiddish has few other younger representatives today. MDD could easily bring citations from online corpora (even Google Books), and also reliable etymologies for most words on the basis of existing etymological dictionaries for German, Hebrew, Polish etc. It would strive accurately to represent the whole messy, wonderful reality of the Yiddish language from around the world over the past thousand years, in as much detail as would be useful for readers and practicable using the technology and human talent available today. It would grow incrementally online, like Wikipedia, and so be accessible and useful almost immediately. The CEYD would serve as an invaluable source for such a project, or could even be its basis.


Since I wrote this review six months ago, two important lexicographic works have appeared which both deserve separate attention. One is the enormous online Yiddish Dutch dictionary by Justus van de Kamp (Jiddisch-Nederlands Woordenboek or JNW), which the author has been compiling for over thirty years. Although the number of entries in the JNW is about the same as for the CEYD, its definitions are considerably more detailed. It is a purely descriptive dictionary and even documents the sources in which the words were found using a system of abbreviations. I intend to write a detailed review—once I learn Dutch.

Another work worthy of note is Dovid Katz’s online Yiddish Cultural Dictionary, which he only began writing in January of this year. It is still in the process of taking shape, but already has some very useful features, including more detailed commentary about usage and phonetic transcriptions in Northeastern (Lithuanian) and Central (Polish) dialects. It deserves fuller treatment elsewhere.

In addition, I have myself put together a more detailed proposal for what I now call a Yiddish Dialect Dictionary. For all who have not yet had their fill of Yiddish dictionaries here, you see there is plenty more to read!


Appendix 1: Other turns of phrase, fine and less fine

Other fine turns of phrase: “in abundance” vi holts: “Acts of the Apostles” di maysim fun di shlikhim (from Einspruch’s translation of the New Testament), “ad lib” fun arbl; “there’s something afoot” epes tut zikh; “ass-backwards” moyshe-kapoyer; “the blind leading the blind” tsvey meysim geyen tantsn; “bow-wow!” hau-hau, hav-hav!; “buff” gemusklt, oysmuskulirt; “bug” (computer)” der dibek; “butterfingers” leymene hent; “want to have one’s cake and eat it too” veln az dos tsigele zol zayn gants un der volf zat; “put the cart before the horse” khapn di lokshn far di fish/der yoykh, khapn di fish far der nets; “chain-smoker” der farbrenter reykherer; “Christmas Eve” der erev-nitl; “corpus delicti” korpus do ligt er (hum.); “cushy job” dos vareme ertele; “different strokes for different folks” vi ba vemen; “eeny-meeny-miny-mo” enge benge stupe stenge; “elfin (fig.)” kleyn-kheynevdik; “fence” (sell illegal goods) handlen mit khomets; “figurehead government” di maryonetn-regirung; “frumpy” altmodish gekleydt; “like gangbusters” mit groys impet; “he acts holier-than-thou” er hot a bobe in ertsisro(e)l, er iz poypslekher funem poyps, er iz a tsadek fun tsadikim-land; “hung jury” di farhakte zhuri; “icy patch” der glitshindzl; “idler” der matse-beker; “be a jack of all trades” hobn goldene hent; “the jig is up” di shpil iz oys; “junk food” dos khazeray; “big fat liar” dem doyver-shkorims an eynikl, haligner-hagodl-vehanoyre; “be an open book” zayn an ofener zeksunzekhtsik; “the ball is out” s’iz treyf; “particle accelerator” der teylekhl-fargikherer; “peanut brittle” dos nusbretl; “platypus” di shnobl-khaye; “preach to the choir” brekhn/raysn zikh in an ofener tir; “rack” (newspaper) der (tsaytung-)shtender; “the whole shebang” hakl-bakl-mikl-flekl; “the sixty-four thousand dollar question” di shayle-shebeshayles; “snug as a bug in a rug” varem vi in an oyer” “all talk and no action” mer roykh vi gebrotns.

Less fine: “be born-again” zayn a frishgleybiker; “Bronx cheer” der bronkser oysfayf (missing the irony); “browse the web” shpatsirn iber der internets; “burn a CD” aynkritsn a kompaktl; “civil rights movement” di bavegung far birgerrekht; “dream team” di gildene komande; “frontrunner” der lider; “fruitcake” (person) der tsedreyter, tshudak; “hunky-dory” vi s’ker tsu zayn, in ordenung (missing the playful nuance); “Ivory Coast” der helfandbeyn-bortn; “Ivy League college” der gildene-fon-universitet; “open house” (social event) der kumzits, kumgenis; “paranormal” iberkhushimdik; “return” (key/comp.) der shure-klavish; “Second Coming” der umker (not Christian enough); “slap me five!” mitn yad in der heykh! gib mir finef!; “street cred” dos khshives af der gas; “strike out” (baseball) farklapn zikh; “unfriend” oplozn vi a guter-fraynd; “unlike” (comp.) tsuriktsien dem layk; “waterboard” trenken simulirterheyt;, “Yiddish studies” yidish-limudim.

Appendix 2: More infelicitous neologisms

“during adolescence” dervakslingvayz, “advisibility” di kedayikayt, “aerial warfare” luftgeshleg, “authenticate” baekhtikn, “baptism by fire” di shlakhtkreytsung, “box cutter” dos kriktsi-meserl, “call girl” dos lebmeydl, “carpet-bombing” di bombe-farzeyung, “circumstantial evidence” der inditsye-dervayz, dringdervayz, “co-dependency” di tsvishngevendtkayt, “common-law” shteygerrekhtik, “common law” dos shteygerrekht, mineg-rekht, “crack addiction” di krakomanye, “crackhead” der krakoman, “developer” der funanderboyer, “doubles (tennis)” der pornmatsh, “elevated train” di eyberban, luftban, “euthanasia” di eytenazye, der rakhmones/khesed-mord, “extenuating circumstances” linder-umshtandn, “Freudian slip” der froydyanisher red-toes, “game show” di/dos teleshpil, “gasoline-powered” benzin/gazolin-bakoyekht, “generation X-er” der ben-dor-iks, “greenhouse effect” der oranzherye-efekt, “high-five” bagrisn mit ale finef, bagrisn mitn yad in der heykh, “incumbent” der itsthalter (but der amtirndiker is good), “jockstrap” der (atletisher) krokrimen, dos mener-bendl, “pocket-dial” tsufelik gebn a redl on, “road rage” di shofern-retsikhe, “roadster” der tsveyortiker/tsvey-gezesiker kabryolet, “spam” dos blitsmist, “sterling silver” dos ginzilber, “teenage boy, girl” dos tsener-yingl, tsener-meydl, “teenage crush” di tsener-libe.

Appendix 3: Half-rhyme, assonance, alliterations

Some more cases of (half) rhyme and assonance about which I have no strong opinions: “birdbath” dos feygl-baseyndl, “carbon paper” dos kopir-papir, “what a character!” tate yoyne, host a sakh azoyne?, “finder’s keepers loser’s weepers!” ver se gefint, der gevint!, “free enterprise” dos fray-firnemeray, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” ver se varft af yenem shteyner, krigt tsurik in di eygene beyner, “goldilocks” (merele-)goldherele, “the grass is always greener” eynem dakht zikh az bam tsveytn laykht zikh (lakht zikh in Southeastern Yiddish), “pooper-scooper” der kupe-shufl, “spam” dos blitsmist, shikn blitsmist, “spare the rod and spoil the child” zhalevest di rut, balevest dos kind.

Some more alliterations: “draft-dodger” der militer-mayder, “fanny pack” dos pasik-pekl (but der talye-tayster is better), “kangaroo court” der parodye-protses, “kickstand” dos shteyshtekl, “length of service” der dinstdoyer, “party pooper” der freyd/fargenign-farshterer, “prerequisite (acad.)” der koydem-kurs, “put up or shut up!” oder shvim oder shvayg!, “scavenger hunt” der gey-gefin, der zukh-un-zaml, “sink or swim!” oder shvim oder shvayg, “sword swollower” der shverdshlinger, “tall, dark and handsome” lang-un-lib, “trials and tribulations” lange laydn un leydn, tsar-un-tsores, “through trial and error” durkh tref un toes, “virtual reality” di virtuele vor.

Appendix 4: More neologisms with the suffix -l

“action figure” dos aktsye-shpilekhl, “blueberry muffin” dos afendl, “3 x 5 index card” dos dray-af-finevl, “cat-o’-nine-tails” dos naynknipl-baytshl, “check stub/pay stub” dos blaybl (!), “chip (snack)” dos tshipl, tshipkele, “chip (computer)” dos (kompyuter-)tshipl, “complimentary ticket/giveaway/free sample/swag/throw-in (freebie)” dos umzistl, “cordless mouse” dos ondrotike/onshnurike mayzl, “credits (film)” onerkendlekh (!), “crib bumper” dos vig-shitserl, “crybaby” dos veynerl, “curtsy” dos kniksl, “disposable/throwaway” dos eynmolikl, “ditto marks” iberkhazerlekh, “dog tag” dos hintishe identifitsirl, (mil.). dos identifitsirl, dos identifitsir-blekhl, “emoticon” dos gefil-bildl, “exploits (sexual)” seks-maysimlekh, “five-dollar bill” dos finferl, finever(l), “Frisbee” dos fli-telerl, “gingerbread cookie” dos ingber/imber-kikhl, dos ingberl/imberl, “Green Beret” dos grin-beretl, “groupie” dos nokhshlepl, “hearing-aid” dos hererl, dos derherl, “jog” der loyfl, (verb) khapn/ton a loyfl, geyn loyflen, “only child” dos eyntsikl, “pass (permit)” dos pasirl, “photo ID” dos fotoidentitetl, “rider (on bill)” dos tsugobl, “free sample” dos umziste pruvl (!), “surprise quiz” dos umgerikhte farherl, “tag (HTML/XML)” dos etiketl, “tennis ball” dos tenisl, “undies” di unterlekh, “water cooler” dos trinkerl, “whoopie cushion” dos fertsl-kishl.

Appendix 5: More neologisms with the suffix -nik

“baseman” der beysnik, “carpet steamer” der tepekh-parenik, “catnip” der shiker-katsnik, “centerfielder” der mitl-feldnik, “cheerleader” der huranik, “chocoholic” der shokolad-tayvenik, “coatroom attendant” der garderobnik, “coffeemaker” der (trif-)kavenik, “death-row inmate” der khayev-misenik, “defeatist” der mapolenik, “denouncer” der mesirenik, “dorm resident” der internatnik, “easygoing/unassuming person” der mekhteysenik, “elevator operator” der liftnik, “enumerator” der tsenzusnik, “FBI agent” der ef-bi-aynik, “fielder (baseball)” der feldnik, “frogman” der zhabenik, “geek” der kompyuternik, “goalie/goalkeeper” der toyernik, “Gypsy cab” der privatnik (a Soviet term meaning “private owner’), “honeymooner” der kushvokhnik, “infielder” der noentfeldnik, “it (player)” der shpilnik (!), “jet set” di dzhetsetnikes, “klansman” der ku-kluks-klenik, “member of a landing party” der desantnik, “landscaper” der peysazhnik, “mama’s boy” der mames-fartekhnik, “missile launcher” der raketnik, “mobster” der mafyenik, “opportunist” der kedaynik, “outfielder” der vaytfeldnik, “polygamist” der filvaybernik, “preschooler” der biz-shulnik, firshulnik, “public-relations person” der pirsemnik (also in the MYEEYD), “refusenik” der refyuznik, “reservist (Israeli)” der miluimnik, “shortstop” der tsvishnik, “trade-unionist” der proffareynik, “vigilante” der birgervakhnik.

Appendix 6: More neologisms with the suffix -varg

“aircraft” dos flivarg, “biodegradables” dos biotsefalvarg, “bulk/fiber (dietary)/roughage” dos grobvarg, “collectibles” dos zamlvarg, “computer supplies” dos kompyutervarg, “consumer goods” dos konsumentnvarg, “cosmetics” dos kosmetikvarg, “curriculum-material/teaching aids/materials.” dos lernvarg, “cutlery/flatware” dos meservarg, “diesel oil” dos dizl-brenvarg, “digital devices” dos digitalvarg (!), “dinnerware” dos telervarg, “diving gear” dos tunkvarg, “durable goods” dos gedoyervarg, “earthenware” dos fayantsvarg, “enrichment material” dos baraykhervarg, “explosive(s)” dos ufraysvarg, “eyewear” dos brilnvarg, “fancy goods” dos matonevarg, “feminine hygiene (products)” dos froyen-higyenevarg, “fluids” dos gisvarg, “foam insulation” dos shoym-izolirvarg, “foliage” dos bletervarg, “fossil fuel” dos fosiln-brenvarg, “gadgetry” dos dzhimdzhikvarg, hamtsoevarg, “genetic material” dos genenvarg, “gift-wrap” dos matone-pakvarg (!), “grains” dos zangvarg, “greenery/vegetables” dos grinvarg, “greens/produce/vegetables” dos gortnvarg, “growth medium” dos kinstlekhe nervarg, “hardware (comp.)” dos mashinvarg, “hazardous materials” dos mesuknvarg (!), “health food” dos gezuntvarg, “imported goods” dos importvarg, “insulating material” dos izolirvarg, “leafy greens” dos bleter-grinvarg, “memorabilia” dos ondenkvarg, “navigation equipment” dos navigirvarg, “nightware/sleepwear” dos shlofvarg, “nuclear fule” dos yoder-brenvarg, “office supplies” dos byurovarg, “paper products” dos papirvarg, “pharmaceuticals” dos apteykvarg, “plastic goods” dos plastikvarg, “plumage” dos federvarg, “pottery” dos tepervarg, “printed matter/printing supplies” dos drukvarg, “promotional material” dos reklamevarg, pirsemvarg, “propellant” dos traybvarg, “raingear” dos regnvarg, “reading material/readings” dos leyenvarg, “recyclables” dos ibernitsvarg, “running gear” dos loyfvarg, “saddlery (articles)” dos zotlvarg, “salad greens” dos salatvarg, “school supplies” dos shulvarg, “seafood” dos filyervarg, “sewing” dos neyvarg, “shapewear” dos figurvarg, “sporting goods/sportswear” dos sportvarg, “stationary/writing instruments” dos shraybvarg, “stemware” dos kosvarg, “supplies (medical)” dos refuevarg, “sweetener” dos farzisvarg, “tea service” dos teyvarg, “telecom equipment” dos telekom(unikir)varg, “toiletries” dos tualetvarg, “tots” dos pitslvarg, “means of transport” dos transportvarg, “visual aids” dos vayzvarg, “whole-grain” fun gantszangvarg, “wicker” dos flekhtvarg (in Stutchkoff, but not clear it meant “wicker’), “young (wild animals)” dos yung-vildvarg (Stutchkoff has vildvarg).

Appendix 7: Americanisms

“ballgame” der matsh, “base (baseball)” der beys, “base (baseball)” der beys, “beatnik” der bitnik, “bebop” der bibop, “beeper/pager” der biper, “bill (law)” der bil, “Bill of Rights” der bil fun rekht, “bleachers/stands (stadium)” di blitshers, “blog, to blog, blogger” der blog, blogirn, blogist, bloger, “boondoggle” der bundogl, “boxball” der boksbol, “briefing” der brifing, “briefing” der brifing, “Browning” der broyning, “brunch” der brontsh, “buccaneer” der bukanir, “bulldog” der buldog, “bulldozer” der buldozer, “bum” der bumer, “business” der biznes (also used as plural: vi geyen di biznes? “how’s business going?), “bypass” der baypas, “byte” der bayt, “call a foul” oysrufn a faul, “call a strike” oysrufn a strayk, “call out on strikes (baseball)” oysrufn a straykaut, “called strike” der untergerufener strayk, “camp (theater, style)” kemp, der kemp, kempish, “charter bus” der tsharterbus, “charter flight” der tsharterfli, “charter school” di tshartershul, “chipmunk” der tshipmonk, “chow mein” der tshaumeyn, “CIA” di si-ay-ey, “clinch (sport)” der klintsh, “clipper (ship)” der kliper, “closer” der shlospitsher, “combine/combine harvester” der kombayn, “container (shipping)” der konteyner, “conveyor belt” der konveyer, di konveyer-lente, “conveyor/production line” der konveyer, “cookie (comp.)” der kuki, “coral reef” der korálrif, “corn muffin” der kukuruze/papshoy-mofin, “costume design” der kostyum-dizayn/proyekt, “country music” di kontri/kantri-muzik, “county” di kaunti, “cowboy” der kauboy, “coyote” der preyrivolf (‘prairee wolf” was its old name), “crack (cocaine)” der krak(-kokain), “cribbage” der kribedzh, “cricket match” der kriketmatsh, “crooner” der kruner, “crowdsourcing” der kraudsorsing, “CT-scan” der katskan, “curling (spo.)” der kerling, “custard” der kostard, “cutter (ship)” der kater, “D (grade)” der di, di dien, “denim” der denim, “denims” di denim-hoyzn, “derrick” der derikkran, “design (graphic)” der dizayn, “designer” der dizayner, “destroyer (ship)” der destroyer, “deuce (tennis)” der dyus, “diamond (baseball)” der (beysbol)romb, “dime” der daym, “diner (restaurant)” der dayner, “dinner jacket” der smoking, der toksido, “dispatcher” der dispatsher, “displaced person” der di-pi, “DNA” der di-en-ey, “doberman” der doberman-pintsher, “double play” der topeler aut, “doughnut” der donat, “Down syndrome” der daun-sindrom, “drone” der dron, “dugout (baseball)” der dogaut, “dumpster” der mist-konteyner, “dungarees” dzhinshoyzn, “egg cream” der eg-krim, “emoji” der emodzhi, “English muffin” der englisher mofin, “esquire” der (e)skvayer, “F (grade)” der ef, “facsimile (fax)” der faks, “facsimile machine” di faksmashin, “fax number” der faksnumer, “FBI agent” der ef-bi-ay-agent, “FBI” der ef-bi-ay, “feedback (noise)” der fidbek, “Ferris-wheel” di feris-rod, “field hockey” der feldhoki, “filibuster” der filibuster, filibustern, “final game” der sof-matsh, “finish (spo.)/finish line” der finish, “flashback” der fleshbek, “flight attendant/steward (airplane)” der stuard, di stuardke, “float (soda)” der flout, “flush (cards)” der flosh, “FM radio” der ef-em-radio, “forward” der forvard, “foul (spo.)” faul..., der faul, klapn faul, “foul out” klapn a faulaut, “frontrunner” der lider, “fudge” der fodzh, “funk” di fonkmuzik, “funky” fonki, “gay bar” der geybar, “gay” gey, “gentleman” der dzhentlman, “gigabyte” der gigabayt, “grader (mech.)” der greyder, “graham cracker” dos gremkikhl, grempletsl (Stutchkoff also gives kreker, as my grandfather in Israel, who knew no English, used to say) “gun lobby” der gever-labi, “handicap (spo.)” der handikap, “hardball” der hartbol, beysbol, “HDL” der eytsh-di-el, “hedge fund” der hedzhfond, “hi-fi/high-fidelity” hay-fay, “hip-hop” der hiphop, “hippie” der hipi, “HIV” der eytsh-ay-vi-virus, “hobbit” der hobit, “hot fudge” der heyser fodzh, “House of Commons” der komons, “House of Lords” dos lordnhoyz, “HTML” der eytsh-ti-em-el, “hula hoop” di/der hulareyf, “humbug” der humbug (Stutchkoff also has hombog), “ice hockey” der ayzhoki, “igloo” der iglu, “impeachment” dos impitshn, der impitshment, “in drag” in dreg, “inchworm” der intshvorem, “instant message” der ay-em, shikn an ay-em, “IP address” der ay-pi-adres, “Irish whiskey” der irlendisher viski, “jam (mus.)” makhn a dzhemsesye, “jam session” di dzhemsesye, “jeans” di dzhins(hoyzn), “jeep” der dzhip, “Jello” der dzhelo, “jet (airplane)” der dzhet, der dzhet-(a)eroplan, “jihadist” der dzhihadist, “jitterbug” der dzhiterbog(-tants), “jungle” der dzhongl, “kangaroo” der kenguru (Stutchkoff also gives kengeru), “ketchup” der ketshop, “kidnapper” der kidneper, “kitbag” der kitbeg, “knock out (boxing)” avekleygn mit a nokaut, derlangen (dat.) a nokaut, “knockdown (boxing)” der nokdaun, “Ku-Klux-Klan” der ku-kluks-klen (why not -kloks-?), “Leader (in US Congress)” der lider, “lever” der liver, “limerick” der limerik, “liner (ship)” der layner, “link (comp.)” der link, “loafer (shoe)” der loufer, “lobby (pol.)” der labi, “lockout” der lokaut, “Lord Chancellor” der lord-kantsler, “Lower East Side” di ist-sayd, “luncheonette” der lontshonet, “lynch” lintshn, “lynchlaw” lintshgezets, lintshyustits, “lynchmob” lintshbande, “Macintosh” der mekintosh-epl/kompyuter, “McCarthyism” der makartizm, “Medicaid” der medikeyd, “Medicare” der mediker, “memory chip” dos zikorn-tshipl, “minesweeper” der minen-trauler, “miniature golf” der minigolf, “Minnie Mouse” mini-mayzl, “minstrel” der minstrel, “minute steak” der minutsteyk, “missile” der misl, “mobster” der gengster, “modem” der modem, “moleskin” der molskin, “morgue” der morg (or perhaps through Russian?), “motor scooter” der motor-skuter, “mound (baseball)” dos pitshbergl, “Mr.” m“r = mister, “MRI” der em-ar-ay, “Mrs.” mr“s = mises, “muffin” der mofin, “mulch” der multsh, multshirn (why not moltsh?), “musical” der myuzikl, “NASA” di nasa, “navel orange” der neyvl-marants, “nude (in art)” der nyud, “offline (comp.)” oflayn, “offset (typ.)” der ofset, “offside (spo.)” der ofsayd, “oomph (appeal)/sex appeal” der seksapil (why not seks-apil?), “op art” der op-art, “Oval Office” der ovaler ofis, “paisley” peyzli, “parakeet” der parakit, “pence” penis, “penny” der peni, “photo finish” der fotofinish, “picnic” der piknik, “pint” der paynt, “pit bull terrier” der pitbul-teryer, “pitch (spo.)” der pitsh, “pitcher” der (beysbol-)varfer, der pitsher, “PLO” der pi-el-o, “poker (game)” der poker (Stutchkoff also gives poyker), “pony” der poni, “port (comp.)” der port, “prairie” di prerye, di preyri, “preppy” der prepi, “pudding (dessert)” der puding, “pullover” der pulover, der ibertsi-sveter (why not sveder?) “punch (drink)” der puntsh, der pontsh, “punk (style)” der ponk, “punk rock” der ponkrok, “Quaker” der kveyker, “quarterdeck” di kvarterdek (why not kvoderdek like kvoder, kvoderbek etc?), “racetrack” der trek, “racquetball” der raketkebol, “ragtime” der regtaym, “rally” der miting, “ranch” der rantsh, “rapper” der rapzinger, “rave (event)” di reyv-simkhe, (music) di reyvmuzik, “redwood (tree)” di royte sekvoye, “reef” der rif, “reel (dance)” der ril, “refusenik” der refyuznik, “reggae” di rege(-muzik) (why not regey?), “retreat (event)” der retrit, “rhythm and blues” der ritem-un-bluz, “rice pudding” der rayzpuding, “rider (on bill)” der rayder, “roadster” der roudster, “roaming fee” der rouming-optsol, “roaming” der rouming, “roast beef” der rostbif, “Rocky Mountains” di roki-berg, “root beer” dos rutbir, “royal flush” der royalflosh, “rugby” der rogbi, “rum” der rom, “safe/coffer/strongbox” der seyf, “sandwich” der sendvitsh, “scat (music)” der skat, zingen skat, “Scotland Yard” der skotland-yard, “second base” der tsveyter beys, “setter (dog)” der seter, “sext” sekstlen, “sharecropper” der sherkroper, “sheriff” der sherif, “shimmy” der shimi, shimiirn, “shin(bone)” der shinbeyn, “shirtwaist” dos veystl, “shortstop” der shortstop, “shrapnel” der shrapnel, “shrimp” der shrimp, “Skype” der skayp, (verb) redn skaypish, skaypn, “slalom” der slalom, “slang” der sleng, “slapstick” der slepstik, “smartphone” der smartfon, “sniper” der snayper, “snob” der snob, “snobbery” der snobizm, “snobbish” snobistish, snobish, “snooker” der snuker, “snorkel” der snorkl, “go snorkeling” snorklen zikh, “sonic boom” der sonisher bum, “speakeasy” der spikizi, “speaker (pol.)” der spiker, “spiritual (song)” der spiritshuel, “spoiler (av./automobile)” der spoyler, “sprinter” der sprinter, “stand-up comedian” der stendap/solo-komiker (better would be stend-op with a hyphen and an -o-), “stand-up comedy” der stendap-humor, “star (actor)” der star, “start (of race)” der start, “starter” der starter, “startup” der startap-firme (better startop with -o-) “stone (unit of mass)” der stoun, “straight (in poker)” der streyt, “strike (baseball)” der strayk, “three strikes, you’re out!” dray straykn un bist aut!, “strike out” makhn a straykaut, “stripclub” der stripklub, “strobe light” der stroblomp, “sundae” der sondey, “supertanker” der supertanker, “swing (mus.)” der sving, “talk show” der tokshou, “tap dance” der steptants, “tap-dancer” der steptentser, “tapioca pudding” der tapyoke-puding, “telefax” faksn (with Yiddishized faksirn), “tennis ball” der tenisbol, “the ball is out” s’iz aut, “the Establishment” der establishment, “three yards in length” dray yard di leng, “to jet (fly)” flien af/mit a dzhet, dzhetn, “toaster” der toster, “trade-unionist” der yunyonman, “Uncle Sam” der onkl sem, “unlike (comp.)” tsuriktsien dem layk, “unzip” ufmakhn dem ziper, (file) ufzipn, “Upper East Side” di oper-ist-sayd, “yuppie” der yopi.

Appendix 8: “Yiddishized” Americanisms

“center forward” der tsenter/mitn-forvard, “the child wants attention (hum.)” dos kind vil atentshyele, “ballfield/ballpark” dos bolfeld, “baseball player” der beysbolist, “bulldozer operator” der buldozerist, “bungalow” dos bongele, “cakewalk (dance)” der kekvok, “closer” der shlospitsher, “coldcream” der/di koldkrem, “Commonwealth of Nations” der komonvelt (not di komonvelt?), “container ship” di mase/konteyner-shif, “cornerback” der vinklbek, “crouton” dos krutondl, “curve ball” der beygpitsh, “delivery (spo.)” der pitshbaveg, “denim” dos dzhinsgevant, “denims” di dzhins-hoyzn, “disc jockey” der diskzhokey, “dodgeball” der oysmaydbol, “drag queen” di dreg-malke, “duffel bag” der dofl, “Ebonics” di ebonik, “extra-base hit” der tsugob-beysklap, “fastball” der gikhpitsh, “field hockey” der feldhokey, “flyout (baseball)” der fliaut, “foul (spo.)” faulirn, “foul out” aroysfaulirn, “foul ball” der faulklap, “foul tip” der faulklepl, “grapefruit” der greypfru(kh)t, “hacker” der arayndringer, araynhaker (why not just haker?), “hitchhike” khapn a tremp, “hitchhiker” der trempist, “homebase (baseball)” di klapbase, der klapbeys, “ice hockey” der ayzhokey, “impeachment hearing” der impitsh-farher, “inside forward” dar halbtsenter-forvard, “instant message” ay-emeven, “jazz (up)” fardzhezn, “to jet (fly)” dzheteven, “kohlrabi” kolrabi, kileribn, “offside (spo.)” di opzayt, “Pap smear” der pap-shmir, “potato chip” dos (kartofl-)tshipl/tshipkele, “rib steak” der ribshtik, “rump steak” der romsteks, der romshtik, “Scientology” di sayentologye, “shake (drink)” der kokteyl (as in Russian), “smoothie” der frukhtsheyk, “soccer player” der fusbolist, “steak” der befshtik, der (bif)steyk, “stopwatch” der stoper (as in Hebrew), “swish! (basketball)” shvish!, “tape (finish line)” di finish-lente.

Appendix 9: Common Americanisms missing from the CEYD

agende “agenda” (still a frequent word among Hasidim), anonser “announcer,” apil “appeal,” bizi “busy,” di biznes “business” (sometimes plural: vi geyen di biznes? “How is business going?” CEYD does have singular der biznes), border “boarder,” brentsh “branch,” datsol! “that’s all,” dzhab “job,” dzhouk “joke,” fayern “fire (from a job),” fiksn “fix,” gebn di sek “fire/sack someone,” gembl “gamble,” gembling, gembler, gemblerish, gemblen, gemblarnye “casino,” gutop “well-off,” holdopnik “holdup artist,” intsh “inch,” kar “car,” kern far “care for,” ketshn a kold “catch a cold,” kontri “country (upstate),” menedzher “manager,” morgedzh “mortgage,” muvi “movie,” op(e)reytor/ap(e)reytor “operator,” piketn “to picket,” pikl “pickle,” plomber (with a /b/) “plumber,” poyder “powder,” riel-esteyt “real estate,” sekond-hendik “second-hand,” setlen zikh “settle,” setlment “settlement,” shatap/sharap! “shut up!,” slom “slum,” sponsor “sponsor,” stapn “stop,” surprayzn “to surprise,” tenent “tenent,” trayen “try,” tshekn “check,” tshens “chance,” vatsh “watch” (Stutchkoff too is missing the verb vatshn), tshikn “chicken,” vok, vokn “walk,” yuzn “to use.”

Appendix 10: Marked Germanisms

The following words labeled Germanisms in the CEYD are unmarked in Stutuchkoff’s Thesaurus: der/di angst “anxiety,” angstik “anxious,” di antshlosnkayt “grit (resolve),” antshuldikn “excuse,” antshuldik(t) (mir)! “Excuse me!” antshuldikn zikh “apologize (to),” di antshuldikung “apology,” arunter “downward(s),” bagrayfn “comprehend/understand,” der baruf “calling (mission)/calling (vocation),” bashteyn (af) “insist (on),” batonen “lay emphasis on,” batsvingen “subjugate,” dos bayshpil “example/instance (example),” tsum bayshpil “e.g./for example/for instance,” bazitsn “possess,” der bazitser “possessor,” der bazits “posession,” der erdbazits “landownership,” der erdbazitser “landowner,” dankbar “grateful/thankful,” dankbar zayn “be thankful to,” umdankbar “ungrateful,” der derfolg “success,” derniderikn “abase/humble/degrade/demean,” dernikerikn zikh, “demean oneself/lower oneself (morally),” di derniderikung “debasement/degradation,” di dershaynung “phenomenon,” der ekl “disgust,” eklen “disgust,” endgiltik “final (definitive),” di eygnshaft “characteristic,” der eygntimer “homeowner/owner/property owner/proprietor” di eygntimerin “owner/proprietress,” farantvortlekh “responsible,” di farantvortlekhkayt “responsibility,” der farbot “interdiction,” farbotn “prohibit,” farflikhtn “obligate,” di farflikhtung “obligation,” farfolgn “persecute,” di farfolgung “persecution,” di fargangenhayt “past,” fargebn “forgive,” farratn “betray/double-cross,” der farrat “betrayal/double-cross/treachery/treason,” der melukhe-farrat “high treason,” der farreter “betrayer/double-crosser/Judas (fig.)/traitor,” farreterish “traiterous/treacherous (traitorous)/treasonable/treasonous,” farshvenderish “profligate (extravagant),” farvandlen “transform,” farvandlen zikh (in) “convert (to) (change)” farvandlt vern “metamorphose,” di farvandlung “conversion (change)/metamorphosis/transformation,” farvandlen (in) “convert (to) (change),” di fayerung “celebration,” der forshlog “proposal,” dos gebit “field (area of interest)/realm (fig.),” geheym “secret/undercover,” geshikt “deft/dexterous,” di geshiktkayt “dexterity,” dos gezikht “countenance/face,” der gift “poison/venom,” giftik “poisonous/venomous,” girik “greedy,” di girikayt “greed,” gotloz(ik) “godless/impious (godless),” di gotlozikayt “impiety,” grindn “establish (found)/found,” der grinder “founder,” der mitgrinder “cofounder,” di grindung “founding,” di grindung-farzamlung “constituent assembly,” der has “hate,” hasn “hate,” hershn iber “dominate/reign,” bahershn “have a command of/conquer (overcome/fig.)/subdue (the enemy),” bahershn zikh “compose oneself/keep one’s temper,” di hershaft “domain (rule)/reign/rule (authority),” heymloz(ik) “homeless,” der heymloz(ik)er “homeless person,” di/dos heymlozikayt “homelessness,” hilfloz “helpless,” hofntlekh “hopefully,” di hoyptshtot “capital city,” di kindhayt “childhood,” kreftik “robust/strapping,” der kreyts “cross,” der kreytstsug “crusade,” di lage “situation/state (condition),” der lastoyto “truck,” laykhtzinik “featherbrained/frivolous (silly),” di laykhtzinikayt “frivolity/levity,” mindlekh “verbal (oral),” der mut “audacity (boldness)/boldness/courage,” tsugebn mut “encourage,” mutik “audacious (bold)/bold/brave/courageous/daring/plucky,” (der)mutikn “encourage,” di mutikayt “boldness,” di nakhtigal “nightingale,” nokhfolgn “follow/succeed (follow),” der onfanger “primer” (or even for the meaning “beginner’), onshtendik “respectable,” nisht-onshtendik “indecent/indecorous,” oysgeveylt “ ...-elect,” oys(der)veyln “elect,” di rayze “journey/trip (journey)/voyage,” rayzes “travels,” shlofloz(ik) “sleepless,” di shloflozikayt “insomnia/sleeplessness,” shnel “fast/rapid/rapidly,” der shtandpunkt “standpoint/viewpoint” der shtok “floor (story)/story (level),” firshtokik “four-story,” der shtrayf “stria/stripe (color),” geshtrayft “striated/striped,” di geshtrayftkayt “striation,” tetik “active,” di tetikayt “activity (event/pastime),” toyfn “baptize,” toyf... “baptismal,” dos toyfkind “godchild,” di toyftokhter “goddaughter,” der toyffoter “godfather (Chr.),” di toyfmuter “godmother (Chr.),” der toyfzun “godson,” trib “dreary” (the trib M. Weinreich marks is with the meaning “drive’), di ufgabe “task,” ufrikhtik “sincere,” umbadingt “without fail,” di umgegnt “vicinity (neighborhood),” der umzats “turnover (bus.),” unterdrikn “keep down (oppress),” vertful “valuable,” der vidershtand “resistance (opposition)/opposition (resistance)” der zelbstmord “suicide (act),” der zig “conquest/victory,” zign “conquer (overcome/fig.),” bazign “conquer (a people)/defeat (mil.),” umbaziglekh “[u]nconquerable,” der ziger “conqueror.’

Appendix 11: Germanisms missing from the CEYD

alzo “so, hence,” ongrif “attack,” anung “idea, notion,” aynladung “invitation,” badayt, badaytung “meaning,” bagabt “talented,” bashrenkt “limited,” bildlekh “colorful,” derfinderish “inventive,” derinern zikh “remember,” derobern “conquer,” eyberflekhlekh “superficial,” farloymdn, farloymdung “slander,” farvendn “use,” flistern “whisper,” forurteyl “prejudice,” forzetsn “continue,” geshprekh “conversation,” gevisnloz(ik) “unscrupulous,” ibn “exercise,” kegnshtand “object,” obergloybn “superstition,” oysgeshprokhn “eminently,” proports “proportion,” ram “frame,” shpiltsayg “toy,” shvanger “pregnant,” teytlekh “deadly,” trots “despite,” trotsdem “nevertheless,” tsugenglekh “accessible,” tsurikgehaltn “restrained” (though di tsurikgehaltnkayt “restraint” is included), tsutroyen “trust,” tsuzamenbrekhn “collapse” (though there is der tsuzamenbrokh “breakdown’), tsveyfl, tsveyflen “doubt,” umfang “extent,” di tatzakh “fact,” umgebung “surroundings,” ufmerkzam “attentive,” ufmerkzamkayt “attention,” unterrikht “instruction,” urteyl “judgment,” urzakh “cause,” vezn “being, essence,” vezntlekh “essential,” af viderzen! “farewell!,” vunderbar “wonderful.’

Appendix 12: Sex terms in the CEYD

“anal intercourse” der tashmish-haokher, “be a great lay/be good in bed” zayn a knak in bet, “be a great lover” visn vi zikh tsu libn, zayn a knak in bet, zayn a geniter gelibter, “be horny (sexually)” hobn a fule flash, “be impotent” nisht hobn keyn koyekh-gavre, nisht kenen, “be virile” toygn, “be well-endowed (of woman)” hobn mazl-brokhe in buzem, zayn gebentsht, hobn pukldike brist, (of man) zayn gebentsht, “blow job” der tashmesh-hape, “boob” di tsits(k)e, dos bulkele, “bugger (verb, vulgar)” hintern, “buxom” fulbrustik, hoykh-buzemdik, fulblekh, blut un milkh, “casual sex” der seks kilakheryad, der azoy-zikh-seks, “the clap (gonorrhea)” der triper, der fayfer, di shpanishe/frantseyzishe krenk, “cleavage (breasts)” der tsvishnbrist, der bristnshpalt, dos (gantse) dobre mazl, “climax (sexually)” dergreykhn/hobn an orgazm, kumen tsum shpits, “clitoral orgasm” der klitor-orgazm, “clitoridectomy” di deklitorizirung, “clitoris” der klitor, di muter/froyen-oder, dos knepele, di kitslke, “cock (penis)” di keke, der shmok, shmekl, pots, petsl, “come (orgasm)” opshpritsn, oployfn, oplozn zere, endikn, “come to sb. for sex” krikhn tsu, “conjugal visit” der man-un-vayb-vizit, “consensual sex” der viliker seks/tashmesh, “cop a feel” khapn a kitsl, khapn/ton/gebn a tap, “cuckold” oystrenen an arbl, baarblen, zayn umgetray, “cum (slg.)” der zaft, di zuze, “cunnilingus” der kunilingus, der tsungenseks, “cunt” di pirge, di shmonde, “date rape” der randke-gvald/oynes, “dick” der pomp, dos pempl, di keke, der shvants, “diddle (masturbate)” kitslen, masturbirn, “doodle (penis)” dos shventsl, “dyke (slg./pej.)” di lesbyanke, lesberke, “ejaculate” opshpritsn, oplozn zere/dem zoymen, “engage in premarital sex (hum.)” esn farn davenen, “erection (sexual)” di erektsye, dos ufshteln zikh, der kishe-eyver, “erogenous zone” dos erogenishe ort, “excite (sexually)” tsevekn, antvekn, ontsindn, ufflamen, ufreytsn, “excited (sexually), tsevekt, antvekt, ongetsundn, ufgeflamt, ufgereytst, ufgehitst, “exploits (sexual)” seks-maysimlekh, “facts of life” seksuele faktn, “fake an orgazm” simulirn an orgazm, “falsies” brust-kishelekh, “fellatio” der tashmesh-hape, der tsungenseks, der felatsyo, “femme fatale” der mener-freser, di yeytser-horenitse, “flat-chested woman” di pind(y)e, “fool around (sexually)” lyubeven zikh, oplekn a beyndl, “forbidden sexual relations” arayes/aroyes, “fornicate” mezane zayn, menaef zayn, noyefn, “frigid (sexually)” frigid, kalt vi a zhabe, “frigid woman” di kalte kuznye, “frigidity (sexual)” di frigidkayt, di froyen-kaltkayt, “frisky (sexually)” tsekheyshekt, tsevekt, “fuck” dos trenen, (am’) dos yentsn, (verb) trenen, baren, tliken, shmuntsn, shtupn, shlogn eyer, yentsn, “fucking” der tren, “fulfill a husband’s conjugal duties” ton dem/der vayb ir rekht, “G-string” dos lendn-bendl, “gay sex” der menerseks, der homoseksueler seks, “gay” homoseksualistish, homoseksuel, zelbminik, gey, “genital lips” vaybershe lipn, “genitalia” di genitaln, geshlekht-organen, (lit.) der mokem-hatoyref, “get it up (have an erection)” kenen, “get laid” khapn a voyn, araynkhapn a (gutn) tren, “gigolo” der zhigolo, der gedungener partner, “girlie magazine” der kitsl-zhurnal, “give sb. a handjob” gebn (dat.) hantseks, gebn mit der hant, “glans clitoridis” dos klitor-kepl, “glans penis” dos kepl, der eykhl, “glory hole (sexual)” di mekhayedike lokh, “goose” a klap/shturkh ton in hintn, “handjob” der hantseks, der tashmesh-hayad, “hanky-panky (sexual)” dos kutsenyu-mutsenyu, di ivke-pivke, (shady) der shakher-makher, der hokus-pokus, shtik, “have a brief flirtation” khapn a flirt, “have a fling” opkhapn a lyubke, “have a quickie (sex)” opkhapn/araynkhapn a libe, a lib ton zikh, “have a roll in the hay” araynkhapn a tren, “have sex with (of man)” bashlofn, boyel zayn, bamanen, “have sex with” shlofn/zayn/lebn mit, ibershlofn zikh mit, krikhn tsu, porn zikh mit, “have sex” makhn zikh fleyshik, “have the hots for” brenen nokh, kokhn zikh in, “he had a hard-on” s’hot zikh ba im ufgeshtelt, “he needs a sexual outlet” er neytikt zikh in seksueler bafridikung, “he’s not getting any (sex)” (di froy) hot farflokhtn a koyletsh, “heterosexual sex” der heteroseksueler seks, der er-zi-seks, der zokher-nekeyve-seks, “hickey” der tayve-bis, der zeygkush, “his penis is erect” s’hot zikh bay im ufgeshtelt, se shteyt bay im, “hooker” di gasnfroy, di prostitutke, di zoyne, di kurve, “hot (sexy)” reytsndik, yeytser-horedik, “hot and bothered/heavy (aroused)” tsekheyshekt, tseflamt, tsevekt, “hustler (male prostitute)” der zhigolo, “impotence (sexual)” di impotents, menershvakhkayt, “impotent” impotent, shvakh-menerish, menershvakh, “in the genital area (euph.)” dortn, dortn untn, “in-and-out (sex)” dos libn zikh af der gikh, “jack off” opshpritsn, oysraybn zikh, “jerk off” opshpritsn, “jizz” der zaft, di zuze, “john (prostitute’s client)” der gast, “johnny (condom)” der parizer, “knockers (breasts)” di birgoln, di bulkelekh, “labia majora” groyse (genitale) lipn, droysndike lipn, “labia minora” kleyne (genitale) lipn, “lay (sexually)” lign mit, terkhe(ne)n, gebn (dat.) a voyn, “lesbian sex” der lesbisher seks, froyenseks, “lesbianism” di lesbishkayt, “loose woman” di umloyf, “lubricate (vaginally)” bazaftikn, “make out (sexually)” tsertlen zikh, lyuben zikh, kushn zikh, lyubtshen zikh, kosken zikh, lashtshen zikh, haluben zikh, “making out” dos tsertlenish, dos libenish, dos kushenish, “manhood (penis)” der eyver, “marital aid” dos (erotishe) shpilekhl, dos seksuele helfmitl, “marital duties” der ziveg-khoyv, “masturbate” onanirn, raybn zikh, “menstruation” di tsayt, di ves(e)t/veyses, di menstruatsye, (hum.) der froyen-yontef, “missionary position” di misyonern-pozitsye, “mons pubis” dos libbergl, genital-bergl, bushe-bergl, dos felekhl, dos shulamis-bergele, dos vaybershe bergl, “mound (vulva)” dos vaybershe bergl, “nocturnal emission” der nakhtiker aroysloz/zomenshtrom, di polutsye, “onanism, -ist, -istic” der onanizm, -ist, -istish, “open marriage” dos fraye tsuzamenlebn, “oral sex” der moylseks, der tashmesh-hape, “orgasm” der orgazm, der shpits, (verb) kumen tsum orgazm/shpits, dergreykhn/hobn an orgazm, orgazmirn, “orgy” di orgye, di vakkhanalye, der shvarts-shabes, “orientation (sexual)” di neygung, “osculate, osculation (kissing)” smotshken (mit di lipn), dos smotshkeray, “pecker (penis)” di petske, dos shmekl, “peep show” di kukarnye, dos kukeray, (hum.) di kuke de lokhe, “Peeping Tom” der unterkuker, der vuayerist, “penile prosthesis” der penis-protez, “penis envy” di eyver/penis-kine, “penis” der penis, der (menlekher) eyver, di mile, (of a child) dos eyverl, dos pisherl, dos feygele, dos pempikl, (euph.) der dos, der bokher, (vulg.) der shmok, dos shmekl, der zonev, der pots, der veydl, “peter (vulg.)” der pots, dos petsl, “phallic” falish, fun menlekhn eyver, “phallus” der falus, der menlekher eyver, “pimp/panderer/hustler” der sutener, der alfons, der froyen-hendler, “play with oneself” onanirn, “polyamory” di poliamorye, “polyandry” dos fil-meneray, “polygamist” der poligamist, der filvaybernik, “porn actor” der pornoaktyor, “postcoital” nokhn seks, (hum.) leakher-hamayse, “prenuptial agreement” der khosn-kale-opmakh, der opmakh erev der khasene, “prick (penis)” dos petsl, der pots, der shvants, dos shmekl, (person) der ongeblozener penkher, der shvants, di zlidne brie, der shmondak, “prowess (sexual)” der koyekh-gavre, di potents, di menerkraft, “prude” der ibertsniesdiker, dos shomayem-peneml, “push-up bra” der aroysheyb-stanik, “pussy (vulva)” dos krepl, di pirge, di shmutshke, di shmue, “put out (vlg.)” lozn zikh bashlofn, “quickie (sex)” dos opgekhapts, dos arayngekhapts, “refuse to have sex (of woman)” farflekhtn a koyletsh, “rubber (condom)” di gume, der parizer, “safe sex” der bavornter seks, “satisfied (sexually)” bafridikt, libezet, “satisfy (sexually)” bafridikn, tsufridn shteln, genign ton (dat.), “score with sb. (sexually)” araynhakn in, “screw (have sex)” (op)trenen, tliken, baren, shtupn, raybn, shmuntsn, terkhenen, onfiln, yentsn, shlogn eyer, “screwing” der tren, “scrotum” der kis, der (eyer-)baytl, dos (eyer-)zekl, “scumbag (condom)” der parizer, (mean person) der menuvl, der paskudnyak, di gnide, “seed (sperm)” di zere, di sperme, der zoymen, “sex (intercourse)” der seks, der tashmesh, (hum.) yene zibn zakhn, “sex appeal” der seksueler tsutsi/reyts, der seksapil, “sex organ” di erve, dos geshlekhtglid, der geshlekhtorgan, “sex toy” dos (erotishe) spil(e)khl, dos seksuele helfmitl, “sexcapade” di seksuele avanture, “sext” sekstlen, “sexy woman” di yeytser-horenitse, di reytsndike, der guter/fester numer, “shaft (have sex with)” baren, terkhe(ne)n, “she got hot (aroused)” s’iz ir ongekumen a kheyshek, ir laydnshaft hot zikh ir tseshpilt, “she was late with her period” s’hot zikh ba ir farshpetikt (mit der tsayt), “she’s a good fuck” ay, ken zi a tren/bare ton, “she’s a real dish!” a moyd vi a tsimes! ay, iz zi geshmak!, “she’s hot!” ay, iz dos a lilis! zi iz der yeytser-hore aleyn!, “shoot one’s wad” opshpritsn, “sleep around” hurn, shlofn mit vemen nor se lozt zikh, “sleep with (have sex with)” ibershlofn zikh mit, shlofn mit, “slut” di zoyne, di paskudstve, di oysgelasene, di drabke, di kurve, di khonte, “slutty” oysgelasn, tselozn, “smut (vulgar material)” dos shmuts, “snatch (vulva)” di pirge, di shmondre, di shpil, “tart (prostitute)” di nafke, di shlyukhe, di khonte, “testes” beytsim, eyer, “testicle” der testikl, di beytse, “they had great sex” zey hobn arayngekhapt a gutn (tashmesh), (vlg.) zey hobn arayngekhapt a gutn tren, “tongue kiss” der tsungenkush, der parizer kush, (verb) parizeven, “top-heavy (buxom/hum.)” oysgebuzemt, “tramp (promiscuous woman)” di flyondre, di drabke, di virzhutke, di zoyne, “turn on (sexually)” tsien, tsevekn, tsereytsn, antvekn, ufreytsn, ufflamen, onbrenen, “twat (vlg.)” di pirge, di shmue, di shmutshke, “vagina” di vagine, (euph.) di (vaybershe) mayse, (hum.) dos kutshke-mutshkele, der/dos oyse-mokem, dos beys-kibl, (of a child) dos knishikl, dos krepele, dos pontshkele, dos putkele, “virile” mantsbilsh, gavresdik, gvarish, “virility” der koyekh-gavre, dos gavres, di mantsbilishkayt, di menerkraft, “vulva” di vulve, droysndike lipn, (slg.) di shpil, “wad (ejaculate)” der opshprits, “wee-wee (penis)” dos pempikl, dos feygele, “well-hung” gebentsht, “wet dream (nocturnal emission)” di polutsye, (fig.) der erotisher kholem, di seksuele fantazye, “wet kiss” der tshmok, di smotshke, “what a hunk!” ay, iz dos a zokher/khvat! sara mansparshoyn/krasavets! eyn zokher in moskve!, “whatever turns you on” vos (nor) se glust zikh dir, “withdrawal (during sex)” der iberrays, der ibergerisener koitus, “womanizer” der vaybernik, meydlnik, babnik, shiksenik, khamer-eyzl, (vlg.) der kurvenik, nafkenik.

Appendix 13: Other vulgarisms and related terms

“asshole” der shvants, der pots, paskudnyak, “ass-kisser” der tokhes-leker, “have somebody by the balls” haltn/khapn emetsn bay di beytsim, “have a bowel movement” hobn dem mogn, oysmakhn zikh, “buns (butt)” hinterkheyleklekh, “obey the call of nature” ton dem tsoyrekh, geyn af tsoyrekh, geyn in klozet, geyn fun maynet vegn, untermakhn, “cover one’s ass” hitn sikh dem rukn, “beat the crap out of” shmetern, “dickhead” der shvants, “excrement” di tsoye, der kal, ekskrementn, (nurs.) kaki, kaku, kaka, (vlg.) dos drek, “feces” di tsoye, ekskrementn, “give sb. the finger” vayzn (dat.) a fayg, “I don’t give a flying fuck!” kh’hob es tif-tayer in dr’erd!, “know fuck all” kenen a fayg, “what the fuck does he want?” vos vil er, tsu(n) al di shvartse-yor?, “fuck around” arumtrenen, arumbaren, “fuck it!” in dr’erd arayn! tsu(n) al di shvartse-yor! khapt es der vatn-makher!, “fuck off!” farnem(t)/fartrog(t) zikh fun danet!, “fuck over” oysbaren, oysyentsn, “fuck up” ondosn, partatsheven, “fuck up” gut araynfaln, opton a vildn feler, farfushern, “fuck you!” kush(t) mir in tokhes!, “fucker (annoying pest)” der/di zlidne, di vants, “I am fucking (+ adj.)” ikh bin mesukn..., “that is fucking good!” se tsegeyt zikh in ale glider!, “fuckup (mistake)” der vilder/narisher feler, (person) der partatsh, der loy-yutslekh, “goddamn” farsholtn, “goddammit!” in dr’erd arayn! tsu(n) al di rukhes!/shvartse-yor!, “go to hell!” in dr’erd arayn mit aykh! geyt in der adome (arayn)!, “humbug!” puste reyd! bobkes! a nekhtiker tog! nisht geshtoygn, nisht gefloygn! s’heybt zikh nisht on un lozt zikh nisht oys!, “you idiot!” shtik nar vos ir zent! nar eyner!, “you jackass!” du yold/shoyte/beheyme/ferd eyner!, “joint (marijuana)” dos tsingele, dos fiftl, “kick ass (beat)” hargenen, gut tseklapn, onshlogn a hintn, (be impressive) zayn gevaldik, “kiss my ass!” kish mir in tokhes/okher!, “know jack shit” visn/kenen a fayg, “make (defecate)” makhn (numer) tsvey, makhn kaki, “make in one’s pants” bamakhn zikh, badosn zikh, onmakhn fule hoyzn, “make number one (urinate)” makhn eyns, “pee” pishn, (nurs.) makhn pi-pi/pishi/pish-pish/numer eyns, “pinko” der linker, “poop (nurs.)” dos drekele, (verb) oysmakhn zikh, “pot (marijuana)” di ktoyres, di gute skhoyre, di marikhuane, “reefer (slg.)” dos tsingele, dos fiftl, “retard” der goylem, der loy-lonu, der farshtopter kop, “shit” dos drek, der tinef, “beat the shit out of” tsemeymesn, (tsekayln un) tsebayln, “he doesn’t know shit” er veyst a krenk/fayg, “I’m in deep shit. oy, s’iz bekaktekho!, “Oh, shit!” in dr’erd arayn! tsun al di rukhes/shvartse-yor! a ruekh zol es nemen! farbrent zol es vern!, “have the shits” hobn a loyzn mogn, “shit” melokhenen, driskn, kakn; ondosn, oysdosn zikh, oyskakn zikh, “shithead” der kaker, “shitty” drekish, tinoyfesdik, farkakt, (contemptible) paskudne, “shoot! (expressing disbelief)” farbrent zol es vern! in dr’erd arayn! a ruekh!, “shucks!” a shod!, “sissy” dos nebekhl, dos tsutsikl, der tsiterdiker, dos nyunkele, “son of a bitch” der mamzer-ben-hanide, der paskudnyak, der hunt, “son of a gun” der mamzer, “turd” di bobke, (person) der gavnyak, der tinef, dos tinoyfes, “twerp” der gornisht, der menuvl, der yold, “go wee-wee” makhn pi-pi/pish-pish, makhn (numer) eyns, “wet oneself” zayn nas, bapishn zikh, banetsn zikh, aynnetsn zikh.

Burko, Alec (Leyzer). “Review of the Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary.” In geveb, June 2018:
Burko, Alec (Leyzer). “Review of the Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary.” In geveb (June 2018): Accessed May 21, 2024.


Alec (Leyzer) Burko

Leyzer Burko is a professional Yiddishist who has taught Yiddish in the YIVO Summer Program, the Worker's Circle, and the Jewish Theological Seminary.