Jewish Language & Translation

Not in the dictionary: Yiddish words and abbreviations

This page is an appeal to expand the most comprehensive Yiddish-English dictionary to date by Beinfeld/Bochner/Niborski/Vaisbrot. As a Yiddish translator, I find words, variant definitions of existing words, and many abbreviations that are simply not in the dictionary. I have started compiling a list, which I would gladly see incorporated in the dictionary’s second edition.

running from the bandit Hitler
Gitler(n) = Hitler. “we ran from the bandit Hitler” (1946)

I will attempt to systematically show my proof for the given definitions, using examples from original written Yiddish samples. At the same time, I have not chosen to add non-YIVO standard spelling, or German/English words simply written in Hebrew letters. The following are words that I believe truly should be new entries in the standard Yiddish dictionary. The notes refer to letters I have on hand with the usage. If you want a copy for a particular word in its original context, I can send it to you.

Let me know what words you haven’t been able to find using the comment feature below!

New Yiddish Words

אױך – oykh


e.g., “Even Aunt Goldi knows this…”

shift key on typewriter

אומשעלטער – umshelter

shift key (on typewriter/computer keyboard)

אונדז – undz

2. we

e.g., “Undz shrayben nisht tsu keyn kinder zey zolen undz shikn gelt.” (We don’t write to any of the children to send us money.a15.8.2,

אַזױרימעט – azoyermet

with it (?)
comp. אַזױנאָך; alt. spelling אַזױאַרימעט

איבונגען דורכפֿירן – ibungen durkhfirn

to workout, to do exercisesb

איבערגעבן – ibergebn

adj. devoted c15.22.1

אָנברעכן – onbrekhn

אָנברעכן די בײנער – onbrekhn di beyner

to beat up (See בײן)

onshikern zikh
It’s a commandment to get drunk on Purim.

אָנשיכּורן זיך – onshikern zikh

to get drunk

e.g., “Noekh shikert zikh on.” (Noah gets drunk. – as the section header for explaining Torah portion)

אַרױסריקן – aroysrikn

to move on, move forward, further

אַרומרײַסערײַען זיך – arumrayserayen zikh

see אַרומרײַסן זיך

squabble, bicker

באַהיטן – bahitn

באַהיטע גאָט – bahite got!

God forbid!

באָד – bod

איך האָב אים אין באָד – ikh hob im in bod

I don’t care about him! I couldn’t care less. Literally: “I have him in the bathtub.”d

See איך האָב דיך אין בױדעם

באָמבע־קשיא – bombe-kashe

profound question; Good question!

באַשײגעצן – basheygetsn

to scold, berate

בױדעם – boydem

איך האָב דיך אין בױדעם – ikh hob dikh in boydem

Get lost! I don’t care (about you/what you say). Longer version: ikh hob dikh in boydem, mit dayn tate und bobe. (I don’t care about you, your dad, or your grandmother.) Literally: “I have you in the attic.”e ,

See איך האָב אים אין באָד

ביזנעסער – bizneser

pl. of biznes. Businesses

e.g., “mentshn velkhe firn bizneser oder organizatsies” f ,

בער – ber

מע קען נישט לערנען אַן אַלטן בער טאַנצן – me ken nisht lernen an altn ber tantsn

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. (Lit. “You can’t teach an old bear to dance.”)

"Kiss a bear!" Yiddish insult
“Kiss a bear!” Yiddish insult

קוש אַ בער – kush a ber

lit. “kiss a bear” = kiss off! Go fly a kite! Extended Yiddish insult is “gey kush a ber untern fartekh!” “Go kiss a bear under its apron!”

גיטלער – gitler

Hitler (Adolf)

גלײַך – glaykh


e.g., “er vet krigen fil mer vi di glaykhe regelmesign oyfn.” (He’s going to get a lot more than the regular way of doing things.) g16.7.2.3

גלעזער  – glezer

glasses (reading glasses, optical glasses)h

געבע גאָט – gebe got

May God let it be/happen (subjunctive)

e.g., “Gebe gott es zol emes zayn.” (“May God let it come true.” i15.25.J-Gp2.15l, 15.25.J-Gl1.40)

געמלט – gemalt


see מילה; alternative spelling גע’מל’ט

נישט געפֿערלעך – nisht geferlekh

not so bad; not a bad thing

Vegetable menorah – grintsayg

גרינצײַג – grintsayg


דרעליע – drelye

also דרעלע

בעלזער־דרעלע – Belzer-drele
Belzer Chassid (derogatory, lit. “Belzer fish gel”. 2 alternative meanings: They jump up and down when praying, jiggling like this food. / They might jiggle when praying, but they’re still cold on the inside (like the food).)

האַנט־קוקער – hant-kuker

palm reader, palmist, chirologistj

האַק – hak

gossip, news, word on the street (Yeshivish, commonly spelled “hock”)

היפּש – hipsh

pretty, rather (e.g., pretty difficult – hipsh shver)

הױכהילכער – hoykhilkher

loudspeaker (common on cars to make announcements to neighborhood)

הײשעריק / הײשרעק – heysherik, heyshrek

praying mantis, grasshopper, general category of locust-like insects

װאָגן – vogn

carriage (on typewriter)

װאָרט – vort

engagement party

װאַרנישקעס – varnishkes

see װאַרניטשקעס

װי מעגליך װאָס גיכער – vi meglikh vos gikher

as soon as possible, ASAP k15.22.29

װידער אַ מאָל – vider a mol

again, once more

װעמענען – vemenen

see װעמען (whom)

װערעמעט – veremet


Confirmation1: alt. spelling װירימעט (see book)

“Zog a nigen!” = “Sing a song!”

זאָגן – zogn

to sing

e.g., “Zog a nigen!” (“Sing a song!”)

זיאַלעװען זיך – zialeven zikh

to wait, expect, watch form15.8.5

Confirmation: book – Russian translation: жадвть

טאָג פֿאַר טאָג – tog far tog

each and every day, day by dayn15.22.23

טוצן – tutsn

dozen (sg. and pl.)o15.8.4


טענצערײַען – tentserayen


טרעפֿן – trefn

to findqVery common in Chassidic Yiddish today.

יונגער־מאַן – yunger-man

young married man, usually in Kollel

יעדערן – yedern

everyone (accusative)

see יעדערער
e.g., “azoy vi ikh shik yedern eyn karte fun mir, azoy shik ikh dir oykh eyn.” (“Just like I send everyone a picture of me, I am sending you one too.r15.8.8)


יענע מחלה – yene makhle

cancer (euph., literally, that illness [that shall not be named])

yekete German Jewish woman
Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer. A yekete if there ever was one.

יעקעטע – yekete

German woman, German-Jewish woman (hum.)

e.g., Es hot zikh im farkleptzet a yekete a yidishe un er loyft mit ir. (A German woman, a Jewish one, got her hooks on him and he’s running around with her.) s15.25.J-Gl1.56

ישובֿניק – yeshuvnik

see ייִשובֿניק
(Jewish country bumpkin)

לשונות – leshoynes

(Interjective) Watch your language! Watch your mouth! (said in response to hearing a curse / swear word)

לעבן זיך – lebn zikh

to be doing, how things are doing

e.g., “[ikh vil visn] vi es lebt zikh aykh in algemeyn.” (“I want to know how things are.”) “ikh leb zikh zeyer gut.” (“I am doing very well.”) t15.22.31

טאָן די מצוה / טאָן די מיצװה – ton di mitzve

to have sex (hum., vulg.) (literally, to do the commandment)

e.g. חסידישע פאליסמאן פון קווינס ישיבה ירמי שאלאמאן, עדות פון וועבערמאן קעיס ארעסטעד פארען טוהן די מצוה מיט יונגע מיידלעך u

מאַכטפֿול – makhtful


מהיכא תיתי? – meheykhe teysi / makheteysi

(Aramaic. rhetorical question)

1. What is your source? Where are you getting this from?
2. Why not?; as you wish; sure; whatever you want

מחילה – mekhile

rear end (euphemism)

e.g., feyk nuz midie kusht obames mekhile nayn yorw

karma – mide keneged mide

מידה כנגד מידה – mide keneged mide

karma; what goes around comes around

מישקעבאבעל – mishkebabel

confusing mess, unordered mixture, chaos

[Yeshivish? Possibly etymological combination of German “mischen” (mix) and Hebrew “babel” (confusion)]


נעכטן נאַכט – nekhtn nakht

last night

נויטבאדערפנדע – noytbaderfende

those in need; needy (noun)

נעקסט – nekst


נעקסטע מאָל – nekste mol = next time

נערװן־קריכער – nervn-krikher

annoying person; pest; annoyance

עט – et

and (obsolete)

עלעקטריזירענד – elektrizirend


פּאַטשקע – patshke

(noun) hassle; mess

פּאָלעטאָ – poleto

overcoat y15.25.J-Gp2.81


פּאַשקעװיל – pashkevil

a public announcement in the form of a broadside or poster

פּוצן – putsn

שנײ פּוצן – shnee putsn

to clear snow, snow removalz

פּײגערן, געפּײגערט – peygern, hot gepeygert

see פּגרן, to die, dead

פּײפּערל – peyperl

paper, paper for rolling cigarettes


פֿאַנג־הײשעריק / פֿאַנג-הײשרעק – fang-heysherik, fang-heyshrek

praying mantis, grasshopper, general category of locust-like insects

פֿאַקסן – faksn


e.g. faksn makhn – to make faces, be sillyaa

פֿאַרױסריקן – faroysrikn

to move on/forward, to further

e.g., tsu faroysrikn karieres (to further careers)ab

פֿאָרשיפּל – forshpil

celebration in the Chassidic rebbe’s court the Saturday evening before a wedding

פֿיפֿיק – fifik


פֿלעגן – flegn

would (in the habitual past)

e.g., “…a taykh, vu men flegt zumer geyen bodn.” (…a river, where people would go [used to go] swimming in the summer.)

פֿעסטשטעלער – festshteler

caps lock key (on typewriter/computer keyboard)

Evan Sung for The New York Times
Kasha varnishkes. Credit: Evan Sung, The New York Times

קאַפּשטאָט – kapshtot

Cape Town ac15.25.J-Gl1.39

קאַרטע – karte

postcard; picture (postcard)

e.g., “azoy vi ikh shik yedern eyn karte fun mir, azoy shik ikh dir oykh eyn.” (“Just like I send everyone a picture of me, I am sending you one too.ad15.8.8)

קאַשע־װאַרנישקעס – kashe-varnishkes

see קאַשע־װאַרניטשקעס

bowtie pasta with buckwheat


קבלה – kabole

resolution (New Year’s); something you take upon yourself to do; vow

e.g., “אלול איז אַן הכנה צום גאנצן קומענדיגן יאר, איצט איז די צייט זיך פאָרצונעמען און איינשטעלן א קבלה טובה, מחזק זיין אין ענינים וואס ברויכן חיזוק א.א.וו.” ae

קלאָץ – klots

sexually frigid personaf

קראַצמעך – kratsmekh

קראַץ־מיך – kratz-mikh
Christmas (lit., “scratch me,” pun on the English word Christmas)

קרישקע – krishke


e.g., “lengere artikl mit interesante krishkelekh” ag

רײַסער – rayser

wannabe; poser; a wannabe person of influence

רײַסעריש – rayserish

cool, loud, ostentatious in a material way

ריקשטעלער – rikshteler

backspace key (on typewriter/computer keyboard)

רעביש – rebish

ostentatious, rich, decadent, pimp (Yeshivish?)


לײגן זיך אױפֿן שׂכל – leygn zikh afn seykhl

to make sense

שײנע יִידן – sheyne yidn

German Jews (hum., pej., euph., literally “fine Jews”)

New Yiddish Abbreviations

‘ג – g’ – got

God (equivalent to writing G-d)

גצ”ד – gts”d – got tzu danken

thank God

צב”ש – tsb”sh – tsum bayshpil

for example

צ”ג – ts”g – tsu gesund


ק”ק – k”k

postcard, often a picture postcard ah15.25.J-Gl1.17

פ”ק – p”k

postcard ai15.25-J-Gp1.2

ט”ה – t”h – theure

dear aj15.25-J-Gp1.2

‘ל – l’

dear ak15.25.J-Gl1.36

ז”װ – z”v – so wie (Judeo-German)

as well as al15.25.J-Gp1.6

Hebrew Abbreviations

This section is for additional abbreviations that I’ve seen in handwritten Yiddish letters but which are Hebrew abbreviations. These are also not listed in the dictionary.

חו”ש – khv”sh – khas v’shalom

God forbid

למ”ה – lm”h – lma’an hashem

For the sake of heaven – context: “you should, lm”h, follow the …”amKaplan will2

מיה”ש – mih”sh

God willing? an15.25.J-Gl1.54

ו – v’

dear, lovely

גח”ט – gch”t – gmar chasima tova

to be sealed in the book of life

דע”י, הע”י – de”y – he”y

Hashem alehem yichyu – God be with them, they should live long.

נ”י – n”y

may his/her light shine ao15.25.J-Gl1.36

ה – h’ – hayakar

dear ap15.25.J-Gl1.36

אי”ה – ay”h – im yirtseh hashem

with God’s help aq15.25.J-Gl1.37

א”נ – a”n – agmas nefesh


מחו – mkhu’

my child’s in-laws as15.25.J-Gl1.39

מז”ט – mz”t – mazel tov

good luck at15.25-Gp1.14

כוח”ט – kvkh”t

signed and sealed in the book of life au15.25.J-Gl1.39

וד”ל – vd”l – vadai l’maven

as is well known; as you know; if you know what I mean

אחי”ה – achi”h – achi hayakar

my dear brotherav15.25.J-Gl1.57

כ”ט – k”t – kol tuv

all the best aw15.25.J-Gl1.57

וב”ב – ub”b – ubnei beyso

and his children

ע”ה – e”h – erhalten

received ax23.2

עמועש”א – emvesh”a – ad meah v’esrim shana amen

to 120 years old. Amen. ay15.25.J-Gp2.15


Wikipedia: Yiddish abbreviations

Wikipedia: Hebrew abbreviations

Originally posted May 2016

Let me know your thoughts using the comment feature below! What words haven’t you been able to find? Can you correct something I wrote?

Notes   [ + ]