Nisht ahin nisht aher (sometimes Nit ahin nit aher)
(nisht aHEEN nisht aHAIR)
Meaning: Neither here nor there; neither one thing or another
• “Taken together, ethnic studies often try to serve too many interests, too many masters, and as a result such programs are neither one thing nor another-nit ahin nit aher…” (From editorial in scholarly journal, “Academic Questions,” March 1997; (bit.ly/2GWjQbZ)
• “Mama used the phrase nisht ahin un nisht aher (not there and not here) often with papa, for few matters were important to her except her boys, money, yiddishkayt, and President Roosevelt. On the other hand papa had strong opinions on everything.”
• Nisht ahin nisht aher was one answer when presented with something that sounded suspicious or shady.
• “Nisht geshtoygn un nisht gefloygn / didn’t climb up and didn’t fly.” Similar expression to Nit ahin nit aher, meaning it’s a very witty and slyly subversive way of saying something is (nonsense) b-------” (bit.ly/2GJSoxK)
Shaker Heights resident Harold Ticktin prepares “Yiddish Vinkl” for the Cleveland Jewish News.