Monday, August 17, 2009

She's Got Real Chutzpah

When I saw Cheri last month, she brought me books. One quick way to become my favorite person is to bring me books. They make my heart go pitter-patter. I just finished reading The Spirit of Sweetgrass. God got a good chuckle at my expense when I picked that one up. I decided to take a break from Heaven to let what I have been learning so far sink in. Some subjects require rumination as I go along. Anywho, here I am, trying to take a break from the topic of heaven, and I pick up this piece of Southern lit lauded as good by Pat Conroy (who can always convince me a book is worthwhile) and gifted by Cheri. Halfway through the book, the main character dies and goes to... HEAVEN. She tells half the story from her new home in the afterlife. HA! Yes, God, I get it.

When I went to pick a new book off of my To Read shelf, my eye caught on In Other Words, which is also a gift from Cheri. This book is full of words from all around the world in lots of different languages. I thought I might share a few with you. Tonight, I will share some Yiddish words.

Chutzpah - Unmitigated gall, brazeness beyond imagination. The classic example is the boy who killed both his parents, then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan.

Bupkis: (bup-kiss) literally, beans. Colloquially, nothing. "You're gonna sue me?! You know what you'll get!!?? Bupkis!"

Kvell: to burst with pride from the achievements of your loved ones.

Mishegoss: (mish-uh-goss) neurosis, craziness, psychological shtick, insanity, wacky idea, idée fixée, foolish notion. "Did you hear his latest mishegoss? He's quitting law school to become a drummer in a heavy metal band!"

And, because I was too lazy to type the definitions out of the book, I copied them from Bubby's Yiddish Glossary.

What's YOUR favorite word from another language?


  1. AW! I'm glad you liked Spirit of Sweetgrass. I love the way she writes!

  2. My favorite is a German word, schadenfreude. Fun to say. It's basically taking pleasure in the misfortune of others who deserve it. To borrow another non-English word, it's karma.


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