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Kibitzing

The verb to kibitz has more than one meaning. It can mean “to chitchat” or “to look on giving unsolicited advice.” The word comes to English through Yiddish, and may derive from German Kiebitz, a reference to a folk belief...

Sneeze Confirmed the Truth

If someone sneezes while you’re saying something, a Yiddish speaker might say “G’nossem tsum emes,” or “The sneeze confirmed the truth,” meaning that what you just said is true, and the sternutation proves it. An...

Calques

The history of German and Yiddish speakers in the United States has lead to a wealth of calques, in which the grammar of one language is applied to another. This is part of a complete episode.

Yiddish Project

The Yiddish Project on Twitter translates Yiddish proverbs into English, such as, “Ask advice from everyone but act with your own mind.” It’s not far from Martha’s favorite advice from her North Carolina-born father:...

Is “Cockamamie” Yiddish?

Richard from San Diego, California, has a hard time believe that the term cockamamie didn’t start out as Yiddish. Although the word was adapted by Jewish immigrants in New York City to refer to transferable decals, it comes from French...

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