Pedagogy

Yiddish Word of the Month: Troyern • טרויערן

Shaul Seidler-Feller

INTRODUCTION

Yiddish Word of the Month is an ongoing feature of In geveb’s pedagogy section, where brother-and-sister team Shaul and Shulamit Seidler-Feller break down a Yiddish word into its various meanings and idiomatic usages. You can find more entries on their Tumblr.

Troyern - טרויערן \TROY-er-en\ Verb \ Past Participle Getroyert: To be sad, grieve, mourn.

Pronunciation: Play this clip to hear a native Yiddish speaker use this word in conversation.

Synonyms: baveynen (באַוויינען), klemen zikh (קלעמען זיך), klogn (קלאָגן), metsaer zayn zikh (מצער זײַן זיך), shver makhn dos harts (שווער מאַכן דאָס האַרץ; lit., to make one’s heart heavy).

German equivalents: beklagen, trauern.

Etymology: The word derives from Middle High German “trûren,” from Old High German “trûrên” (lit., to lower one’s eyes), itself from the Germanic root *drûsên. Cognates include Dutch “treuren,” New High German “trauern,” and West Frisian “treure.” Modern English “dreary” is also related.

Derivatives of troyern:
טרויערער (troyerer) - a mourner
טרויער (troyer) or טרויעריקייט (troyerikeyt) - sadness, grief, mourning, sorrow, melancholy
טרויער-פֿאַרזאַמלונג (troyer-farzamlung) - a memorial gathering
טרויער־פֿלאַטערל (troyer-flaterl) or טרויערניצע (troyernitse) - a Mourning Cloak butterfly
טרויער־געוויין (troyer-geveyn) - a dirge
טרויער־געזאַנג (troyer-gezang) or טרויער-מוזיק (troyer-muzik) or טרויער-ניגון (troyer-nign) - mournful music
טרויערהויז (troyerhoyz) - a house of mourning
טרויער־קליידער (troyer-kleyder) - mourning dress
טרויערמאַרש (troyermarsh) or טרויער-פּראָצעסיע (troyer-protsesye) - a funeral march/procession
טרויער־פּאַפּיר (troyer-papir) - black-edged paper
טרויער־שפּיל (troyer-shpil) - a theatrical tragedy
טרויער וואָכן (troyer vokhn) - the Three Weeks (lit., the weeks of mourning; the traditional period of mourning between 17 Tammuz and 9 Av)
פֿאַרטרויערט (fartroyert) or טרויעריק (troyerik) or טרויערלעך (troyerlekh) - sad, mournful, melancholy, sorrowful
טרויעריק־באַרימט (troyerik-barimt) - notorious, renowned for bad qualities

Phrases with troyern:

1. גיין אין טרויער (geyn in troyer) - to wear mourning (lit., to go in mourning [dress])
2. הילן זיך אין טרויער (hiln zikh in troyer) - ditto (lit., to wrap oneself in mourning)
3. אָנטאָן טרויער (onton troyer) - ditto (lit., to put on mourning)
4. זײַן אין טרויער (zayn in troyer) - to be in [a state of] mourning

Expressions with troyern:

אַ קלוגער זון מאַכט זײַן טאַטע צופֿרידן; א נאַרישער זון איז דער טרויער פֿון דער מאַמע.

A kluger zun makht zayn tate tsufridn; a narisher zun iz der troyer fun der mame

A wise son makes his father glad; a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

Troyern in Yiddish storytelling:

According to David G. Roskies:

In the folklore of the nations, the operative myth was heroic; it was a tale of conquest and happy endings. Among Jews, the best that could be hoped for was a tale of averted disaster. In contemporary Jewish folklore Sholem Aleichem found the one recurrent plot that confirmed his innermost sense of life: “Ale yidishe mayses,” he wrote in 1903, “ale umglikn bay undz heybn zikh on fun a kleynikayt” (“all Jewish tales, all disasters among us begin with a trivial occurrence”). And as for the endings: “Yidishe mayses lozn zikh oys, tsum maynstn, troyerik” (“Jewish stories end, for the most part, on a sad note”). 1 1 David G. Roskies, “Sholem Aleichem: Mythologist of the Mundane,” AJS Review 13, nos. 1/2 (1988): 44.

Troyern in a sentence:

בשעת די טרויער וואָכן, טרויערט מען דעם חורבן פֿונעם בית-המיקדש און אַ סך אַנדערע ייִדישע צרות וואָס זײַנען געשען דורך דער לאַנגער ייִדישער געשיכטע.

Beshas di troyer vokhn, troyert men dem khurbn funem beysamigdesh un a sakh andere yidishe tsores vos zaynen geshen durkh der langer yidisher geshikhte

During the Three Weeks, we mourn the Destruction of the Holy Temple and many other Jewish misfortunes that befell us throughout our long history.

Use troyern in your own sentence today!

MLA STYLE
Seidler-Feller, Shaul. “Yiddish Word of the Month: Troyern • טרויערן.” In geveb, January 2017: https://ingeveb.org/pedagogy/yiddish-word-of-the-week-troyern-טרויערן.
CHICAGO STYLE
Seidler-Feller, Shaul. “Yiddish Word of the Month: Troyern • טרויערן.” In geveb (January 2017): Accessed Nov 16, 2019.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shaul Seidler-Feller

Shaul Seidler-Feller is a doctoral candidate in modern Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a cofounder of the Yiddish Word-of-the-Week blog.