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Case Quarter in South Carolina

Jennifer in Andrews, South Carolina, is curious about the term case quarter, meaning “a single 25-cent coin — not two dimes and a nickel and not five nickels.” It’s heard mainly in South Carolina, particularly among African...

“Nebby” Means “Nosy”

The term nebby, meaning meddlesome or nosy, literally derives from the word neb, or “nose,” a term that’s been around in English for more than a thousand years. Despite what you might guess, nebby is unrelated to the Yiddish word...

Go Fry Ice

Kathleen from Ithaca, New York, remembers her mother saying Go fry ice! meaning “Bug off!” It’s probably a minced oath replacing a phrase that exhorts the hearer to go do something else that starts with F. The earliest known...

Farblonjet

Elliott, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, asks about the Yiddish word variously spelled farblonjet, farblunget, and other ways. It means lost, befuddled, or confused and may derive from a Polish term meaning to go astray. This is part of a complete...

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