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A Glossary for Yiddish in Portnoy's Complaint - The Philip Roth Society

A Glossary for Yiddish in Portnoy's Complaint - The Philip Roth Society

A Glossary for Yiddish in Portnoy's Complaint - The Philip Roth

GLOSSARY of YIDDISH for PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT compiled by Andrew Gordon bonditt = bandit; clever, mischievous fellow Boruch atoh Adonai = “Blessed art Thou, o Lord our G-d” (beginning of prayer or blessing– this is Hebrew, not Yiddish) boychick = boy, kid chazerai = (from chazer= pig), junk food, trafe (non-kosher) dreck = crap, trash flaishik, flayshedig = meat, poultry (as opposed to milchik, milchedig =dairy products; meat and milk must be kept separate in kosher cooking) gantze k’nockers= big shots, showoffs genug = enough gonif = thief goy = gentile (noun) goyim = gentiles (plural) goyische = gentile (adjective) hock = strike; yammer, yak; nag kibbitz = watching, with comments; interfering; making wisecracks, teasing kish mir in tuchis = kiss my ass (tuchis = ass) kishkas = intestines, guts, belly kugel = sweet noodle casserole kurveh = prostitute kvell = gush, swell with pride kvetch = complain meshugge, meshuggeneh = crazy, nuts milchik, milchedig = see flaishik (above) nachas = joy, pleasure; pride in a child’s achievement noch = yet; more, too; “There!” (said when you hit someone) nosh = nibble, snack nudjh = nag oy = “oh!”–an expression, depending upon circumstance, of pain, fear, woe (oy vey!), awe, relief, pleasure, horror or astonishment (oy gevalt!) oysgemitchet = exhausted punim = face, visage pisher = nothing; pisser, little squirt pisk = mouth plotz = burst, collapse, be aggravated beyond bearing potch = slap, usually on the ass putz = male organ; fool (see also shlong, shmuck, shvantz); “ven der putz shtet, ligt der sechel in drerd” (“when the penis rises, the brains get buried in the ground”) rachmones = pity, mercy, compassion

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