"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Nebbish and friends

A nebbish is a person regarded as weak-willed, timid or simple-minded. (From the Yiddish nebekh - a timid, unfortunate simpleton).

The best definition I ever heard of a nebbish was someone who upon entering a room makes you think someone has just walked out...

There are some other great words of Yiddish origin to describe folk. Words like nudnik : a pest, "pain in the neck"; a bore.

And schlemiel : an inept clumsy person; a bungler; a dolt.

Then there is shmendrik : a foolish or contemptible person.

And finally yenta : a talkative woman; a gossip; a scold.

If you want to insult someone there is always a Yiddish term that fits.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Irish word "blatherskite"; it doesn't even need explanation.