Yiddish is a hybrid language and takes much of its vocabulary from medieval German and Hebrew, but with a smattering of words from Aramaic, Slavic and Romance languages as well. Many of the words come from the specific cultures within Central and Eastern Europe.
Yiddish has a structure all its own. While the language is based on a mixture of Hebrew and medieval German, its alphabet is based on the Hebrew alphabet. The rules of Yiddish are not the same as either of the parent languages.
Yiddish went through a decline in popularity over the past 100 years but has found a resurgence in recent times and is taught at several prominent universities around the world. Next time you use a word of Yiddish origin, remember that you are speaking a foreign language.
Nit ahin, nit aher – Neither here nor there
Nit gidacht! – It shouldn’t happen! (Same as nishtu gedacht)
Nit gidacht gevorn. – It shouldn’t come to pass.
Nit kosher – Impure food. Also, slang, anything not good
Nit heint, nit morgen! – Not today, not tomorrow!
Nito farvos! – You’re welcome!
Nitsn – To use
Noch a mool – One more time
Noch nisht – Not yet
Nochshlepper – Hanger-on, unwanted follower
Nor Got vaist – Only G-d knows.
Nosh – Snack
Nosherie – Snack food
Nu? – So? Well?
Nu, dahf men huben kinder? – Does one have children? (When a child does something bad)
Nu, shoyn! – Move, already! Hurry up! Let’s go! Aren’t you finished?
Nudnik – Pesty nagger, nuisance, a bore, obnoxious person
Nudje – Annoying person, badgerer (Americanism)
Nudjen – Badger, annoy persistently
Oy vey tsu meina baina – Woe is me (down to my toes)
Oybershter in himmel – G-d in heaven
Oych a bashefenish – Also a V.I.P.! A big person! (said derogatorily, sarcastically, or in pity)
Oych mir a leben! – This too is a living! This you call a living?
Oyfen himmel a yarid! – Much ado about nothing! Impossible! (Lit., In heaven there’s a big fair!)
Oyfgekumener – Come upper, upstart
Oyfn oyg – Roughly, approximately
Oyg oyf oyg – In private, face-to-face
Oys shiddech – The marriage is off!
Oysznoygn fun finger – Concoct, invent (a story)
Oysergeveynlekh – Unusual (sometimes used as “great.”)
Oysgedart – Skinny, emaciated
Oysgehorevet – Exhausted
Oysgematert – Tired out, worn out
Oysgemutshet – Worked to death, tired out
Oysgeposhet – “Well grazed,” in the sense of being fat.
Oysgeputst – Dressed up, overdressed; over decorated
Oysgeshprait – Spread out
Oysgevapt – A bubbly drink that has lost its fizz.
Oysvurf – Outcast, bad person