Yiddish Vinkl for November 22

Nebbish (NEH-bish)

Meaning: a pitiful person, a loser or a nobody

• “Yiddish speakers have many words for losers: schlemiel, schnook, schmo, schmegeggie, schlub, pischer, nebbish and putz were just a few of mother’s many ways to dismiss or disapprove of someone, but Nebbish was the queen of words.” (bit.ly/33QKwEh)

• “A nebbish is the perfect pickpocket because his success depends on his being overlooked and invisible.” (bit.ly/2rNE2YA)

• “In 1941, Budd Schulberg’s Hollywood novel, “What Makes Sammy Run?” defined the Yiddish word nebbish with careless disdain: ‘not exactly an incompetent, a dope or a weakling. He is simply the one in the crowd that you always forget to introduce.’” (bit.ly/2qYAeU0)


Shaker Heights resident Harold Ticktin prepares “Yiddish Vinkl” for the Cleveland Jewish News.

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