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Not a word for polite company. Bubkes or bobkes may be related to the Polish word for "beans", but it really means "goat droppings" or "horse droppings." It's often used by American Jews for "trivial, worthless, useless, a ridiculously small amount" - less than nothing, so to speak. "After all the work I did, I got bupkes!"
In Yiddish, it's spelled kibets, and it's related to the Hebrew "kibbutz" or "collective." But it can also mean verbal joking, which after all is a collective activity. It didn't originally mean giving unwanted advice about someone else's game - that's an American innovation.
Insanity or craziness. A meshugener is a crazy man. If you want to insult someone, you can ask them, "Does it hurt to be crazy?"
is like oy vey, but expresses fear, shock or amazement. When you realize you're about to be hit by a car, this expression would be appropriate.
Literally, to explode, as in aggravation. "Well, don't plotz!" is similar to "Don't have a stroke!" or "Don't have a cow!" Also used in expressions such as, "Oy, am I tired; I just ran the four-minute mile. I could just plotz." That is, collapse.
A clumsy, inept person, similar to a klutz (also a Yiddish word). The kind of person who always spills his soup.
Someone with constant bad luck. When the shlemiel spills his soup, he probably spills it on the shlimazel. Fans of the TV sitcom "Laverne and Shirley" remember these two words from the Yiddish-American hopscotch chant that opened each show.
Excessively sentimental, gushing, flattering, over-the-top, corny. This word describes some of Hollywood's most famous films. From shmaltz, which means chicken fat or grease.
Often used as an insulting word for a self-made fool, but you shouldn't use it in polite company at all, since it refers to male anatomy.
Dirt - a little dirt, not serious grime. If a little boy has shmutz on his face, and he likely will, his mother will quickly wipe it off. It can also mean dirty language. It's not nice to talk shmutz about shmutz.
Serious troubles, not minor annoyances. Plagues of lice, gnats, flies, locusts, hail, death... now, those were tsuris.
Smart person. Literally means "Jewish head." I don't want to know what goyisher kop means.
which is a rag or inferior clothing [also the Apparel Business is known as the 'Shmatteh' Trade]
hopefully lost or confused. Dreck is also an important word, means inferior product or worse..
a baleboosteh squared; a regular Martha Stewart. A homemaker who puts the rest of us to shame.
Watchman; historically refers also to the armed Jewish watchman in the early agricultural settlements in the Holy Land
Luckless person. Unlucky person; one with perpetual bad luck (it is said that the shlemiel spills the soup on the shlimazel!)
Refers to a mixed-up or shaken item. Generally indicates something of little or dubious value.
Zol ze vaksen ze ve a tsibble mit de kopin dreid
You should grow like an onion with your head in the ground.
Du kannst nicht auf meinem rucken pishen unt mir sagen class es regen ist.
You can't pee on my back and tell me that it's rain!
Nifter-shmifter, a leben macht er?
What difference does it make as long as he makes a living? (Lit., nifter means deceased.)
Dine Essen teg
Yeshiva students would arrange to be fed by various householders on a daily basis in different houses. (Lit., Eat days)
Ich zol azoy vissen fun tsores.
I should know as little about trouble (as I know about what you are asking me)
Az di bobe volt gehat beytsim volt zi geven mayn zeyde!
If my grandmother had testicles she would be my grandfather.