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Feb 9, 2004
This week's theme
Words borrowed from Yiddish

This week's words
schlock
nudnik
kvell
schmaltz
tsuris


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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, is reported to have said, "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse." One wonders how he would have completed, "and Yiddish to..." A language full of wit and charm, Yiddish embodies deep appreciation of human behavior in all its colorful manifestations. This week we'll look at a few Yiddishisms that have enriched the English language. Add these words from Yiddish to bring a little tang to your conversation.

schlock

(shlok) Pronunciation

adjective: Cheap, inferior, or shoddy.

noun: Something that is of inferior quality; junk.

[From Yiddish shlak (evil, nuisance). Also see schlockmeister.]

"Some may feel that celebrity boxing is a repugnant modern phenomenon, a sign that a new wave of schlock culture is rolling over us as Jimmy Ormond's midriff does his waistband. Nothing could be further from the truth. US celebrities have a noble and vigorous tradition of hitting one another."
Harry Pearson; Float Like a Butterdish, Sting Like a Beetroot; The Guardian (London, UK); Mar 12, 2002.

"Media Watch presenter Paul Barry says far too much current affairs TV is just schlock and garbage."
Sian Powell; Flight From Quality; The Australian (Sydney, Australia); Nov 23, 2000.

X-Bonus

Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind. -Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965)

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