How to Say Common Yiddish Expressions

by Contributor
Most gestures are made with the hands, from the thumbs up to the finger wag.

Most gestures are made with the hands, from the thumbs up to the finger wag.

How to Say Common Yiddish Expressions. Whether you feel like a schlemiel when you can't quite understand your grandfather's colorful jokes, or you hope to spice up your own language, it's fun to learn some common Yiddish expressions. So stop your kvetching--soon you'll be able to speak enough Yiddish to steal the next punchline.

Say, "zei gesund," to toast to someone's heath. Offer congratulations with "mazl tov!"

Describe insanity or craziness as "mishigas" and mixed-up with "famisched" or "farblondzhet."

Describe a clumsy dope as a "schlemiel," a person who does everything backwards as "moisheh kapoyer" and a woman who talks too much as a "klip."

Wish someone a good day with "gutn tog."

Spice up your language with some Yiddish insults, including "yutzi" (stupid), "schmendrik" (a jerk) or "farschtinker" (awful person).

Wish a friend happy birthday by saying, "mazl tov tsu dayn geboym-tog."

Say, "zay moykhl," to apologize. If you really get in trouble with your Yiddish expressions, say, "mayns Yidish iz shlekht" (my Yiddish is bad).

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