Many assimilated Ashkenazi American Jews, whose grandparents or greatgrandparents only spoke Yiddish, or who spoke it as a first language, barely know any words at all. (a shame, a pity.) Many Yiddish words have entered the American-English lexicon.
You will find maven (expert) and gonif (thief) in most dictionaries.
Thus, it incorporates words from Hebrew, Russian, Polish and other Slavic languages, Romance languages, and later, English.
Before WWII, Yiddish was spoken by more than 11 million people.
Today, it is spoken by perhaps one tenth that many.
If you don't see it in the glossary, try spelling it slightly differently (i.e. I'm happy to help where I can, but please do not attempt to use me as a free translation or editing service!
" "Shlep" vs "Schlep" Also, please be respectful of my time and ask nice!!
Yiddish offers more ways of identifying various kinds of "idiots" (with all their subtle variations) than Eskimos have for different kinds of snow.
It has a bountiful tradition of literature, film, theater and poetry, which reflect the collective Jewish experience in Europe, over centuries.
It has words for nearly every personality type known to humankind.
It's hilarious and I will probably break out some of the sayings at my Passover Seder in the spring. --Joan Rivers Yiddish is a wonderful, rich, descriptive, often onomatopoetic language.
Please do not ask for definitions of words already in this list! I do not answer questions about religion, customs, holidays, various sects, the Talmud, laws of Kashruth, etc. Gusoff: Thanks for sending me your book, Dirty Yiddish Slang.
HOWEVER..please remember, this is a labor of love, done in my spare time. If you know the English word, and want the Yiddish, you can either use the "Find on This Page" function in your browser (usually under the EDIT menu) or go to THIS SITE or to translate from English to Yiddish (with results in Hebrew letters) go to Just because this is a Yiddish website, hardly makes me an expert on all things Jewish!