The Top Ten: Yiddish words
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 29 June 2014
Thank you to Michael Fishberg and Matt Hoffman for this one. Matt noodged me to do it. Chutzpah has already featured in 'Top 10 useful words for which there is no English equivalent', which is just as well, because competition for these 10 places was fierce.
1. Shtum Silent, with a few layers of extra meaning, as with most of these.
2. Shpilkes Agitated (as in waiting for exam results)
3. Kvetch Complain, complainer.
4. Zimzoom Mosquito.
5. Verklempt or farklempt Overwrought. Nominated by Josh Glancy and Tom Doran.
6. Schlep Long and tedious journey, noun or verb. Nominated by Ruth Muirhead.
7. Schlemiel Awkward, unlucky person.
8. Schmooze Originally a long and intimate chat.
9. Nosh Originally a snack bar.
10. Noodge To pester. From Matt Hoffman. In Britain and America, influenced by nudge. Verb and noun, although Polish Yiddish also has noodnik or nudnik, a pest, nominated by Martyn P Jackson.
Next week: Great unremarked changes of our lifetime
Coming soon: Elegant variations (such as a yes-brainer or a might-read). Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >