Yinglish

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Yinglish words are neologisms created by speakers of Yiddish in English-speaking countries, sometimes to describe things that were uncommon in the old country. This is the meaning of the term used by Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish.

Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish[1] uses the words Yinglish and Ameridish to describe new words, or new meanings of existing Yiddish words, created by English-speaking persons with some knowledge of Yiddish. (The fact that donstairsiker is listed as Ameridish and its opposite opstairsiker is listed as Yinglish, coupled with the fact that no Yinglish word is suggested in The Joys of Yiddish to have arisen outside the United States of America, suggests that Ameridish and Yinglish are synonyms.)

Leo Rosten defines "Yinglish" as "Yiddish words that are used in colloquial English" (e.g. kibitzer)[2] and Ameridish as words coined by Jews in the United States.[3] Following this definitions, this article is about Ameridish, and Yiddish words used by English-speaking Jews is about what Leo Rosten defines as Yinglish; his use, however, is inconsistent with his own definitions.[4]

The Joys of Yiddish describes the following words as Yinglish except where noted as Ameridish:

  • alrightnik, alrightnikeh, alrightnitseh – male, female, female individual who has been successful; nouveau riche[5]
  • blintz (Yinglish because the true Yiddish is blintzeh)[6]
  • bleib shver  – remains difficult - unresolved problem, especially in Talmud learning. Corruption of "bleibt schwer" in German, lit. translation "remains difficult".
  • bluffer, blufferkeh – male, female person who bluffs[7]
  • boarderkeh, bordekeh – (Ameridish) female paying boarder[8]
  • boychick, boychikel, boychiklekh - young boy, kiddo, handsome[9]
  • bulbenik (Ameridish) – an actor who muffs his lines, from bilbul - mixup (alternative theory - bulba, literally potato, figuratively error))[10]
  • bummerkeh (Ameridish) – a female bum
  • cockamamy false, ersatz, crazy (of an idea), artificial, jury-rigged (prob. from Eng. "decalcomania," a "decal," a sticker, a cheap process for transferring images from paper to glass.) In the Bronx, 1st half 20th century, a "cockamamie" was a washable temporary "tattoo" distributed in bubblegum packets.
  • donstairsikeh, donstairsiker – female, male living downstairs
  • dresske – bargain-basement dress
  • fin – five, or five-dollar bill, shortened form of Yiddish finif (five)
  • kosher – Yinglish, not in its religious or Yiddish meanings, but only in five slang senses: authentic, trustworthy, legitimate, fair, and approved by a higher source. Its pronunciation, as "kōsher", is another distinguishing factor, as in true Yiddish it is pronounced "kūsher" or "kösher"
  • nextdoorekeh, nextdooreker – female, male living next door
  • opstairsikeh, opstairsiker (Ameridish) – female, male living upstairs
  • pisha paysha – corruption of English card game Pitch and Patience
  • sharopnikel (Ameridish) – a small object that causes shutting up, e.g. a pacifier, teething ring
  • shmegegge (Ameridish) – an unadmirable or untalented person
  • shnuk (Ameridish)
  • singlemon – single man
  • shmo
  • T.L. – tuches lecker or ass-kisser (literally, one who licks buttocks)
  • Tararam - A big Tummel'

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