On Language


Heading Into the 'I' of the Knaidel

By Philologos

Did Arvind Mahankali spell ‘knaidel’ correctly or not? The problem lies not with Yiddish, the New York Times or a 13-year-old boy. Philologos says it is the English language.Read More


A Very Yiddish Take on the Star Spangled Banner

By Philologos

Most people look at the American flag and see stars and stripes. But some Yiddish speakers, particularly the late poet Abraham Liessin, saw noodles and pasta.Read More


How Do You Say 'Fuhgeddaboudit' in Yiddish?

By Philologos

‘Fuhgeddaboudit’ certainly originated in New York, and most probably in Brooklyn’s criminal underbelly. Philologos delves deep into the underworld annals to get to its roots.Read More


Why Jews Didn't Always Seem To Have a Word for Sarcasm

By Philologos

Is it possible that neither Yiddish nor Hebrew had words for ‘cynical’ or ‘sarcastic’? Maybe, but we needn’t make assumptions about cultures by the words they seem to lack.Read More


Redemption of the First Shorn

By Philologos

Some Jews cut a boy’s hair for the first time when he turns 3. There is more to the ceremony of the opsherenish than meets the scissors.Read More


A Nebbish Is Born

By Philologos

We all know what a nebbish is. But it takes Philologos to track down its roots in nebekh, a Yiddish word with many, many meanings.Read More


Abbreviate This!

By Philologos

One of our readers would like to know the origins of the word nebekh. He’ll have to complete a crash course in the lively art of Yiddish abbreviation first.Read More


When To Call a Schmuck a Schmuck

By Philologos

There are many words for idiot. But few have the same ring as ‘schmuck.’ We offer a look at the word through the lens of Yiddish — and pop culture.Read More


The Sheynest Punim of Them All

By Philologos

The word ‘punim’ has worked its way into the Yinglish lexicon. But you’ll still need plenty of chutzpah to try and use it as a Scrabble word.Read More


How To Confuse a Gentile

By Philologos

Shhh Daber nisht! The phrase, which is a mix of Hebrew and Yiddish, was one of a few used by Jews in Europe to keep gentiles from listening to their conversations.Read More





Find us on Facebook!
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.