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Mar 22, 2021
This week’s theme
Words borrowed from Yiddish

This week’s words
plotz
frum
shonda
yichus
gelt

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

If languages were food, English would be a loaf of bread, Spanish a fine dish of fresh veggies, French a dessert, ... and Yiddish a spicy pickle. Add it to any meal to bring that tang. Add it to any conversation to give it a nice pungent flavor.

At least to my tongue. (Your tastebuds may vary.)

This week we share with you five words from Yiddish that are now a part of the English language. Yes, we have featured chutzpah and mensch and schmooze in the past. It’s time to share words that you may not have heard of.

Yiddish (literally, Jewish) is a language without a country (Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic). It started out as the language of the Ashkenazi Jews (from Germany). The language has German as its base, includes a generous sprinkling of words from Hebrew and other languages, and is written in an alphabet based on Hebrew.

Like any language, Yiddish serves its speakers in whatever they wish to express, however they wish to communicate. When I call it spicy pickle, it’s only in the context of Yiddish vocabulary that’s now a part of the English language.

plotz

PRONUNCIATION:
(plots)

MEANING:
verb intr.: To faint, collapse, explode, or flop down, as from excitement, frustration, surprise, exhaustion, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Yiddish platsn (to burst), from German platzen (to burst). Earliest documented use: 1920.

USAGE:
“I laughed so hard I almost plotzed.”
Giles Coren; Fiction Review; The Times (London, UK); Sep 3, 2016.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. -Louis L'Amour, novelist (22 Mar 1908-1988)

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