Yiddish words commonly used in Hebrew

Yiddish ( ידיש) and Hebrew go way back together.  They are like buddies, you know?  Nu?( נו) Maybe you are really using Yiddish and you don’t know it? Versteh?( וירשטה  ) Most people use Kapish, but that is actually from Italian.

Yiddish is a mixture of Hebrew, German, Polish and Russian.  It is written in Hebrew letters, but the vowels are spelled out using the letters Aleph (א), Yud (י), and Ayin (ע)  . Yiddish was spoken by Eastern European Jews for many centuries.  In fact before the State of Israel was declared, there was a debate about which language would be used as the National Language!  There were a number of people who wanted Yiddish to be used instead of Hebrew.  This was because they wanted Hebrew to be reserved for prayer, and the venacular to be a different language.  But Hebrew won.  There are many words of Yiddish have have sneaked into the everyday usage of Modern Israelis.   Here are a few Yiddish expressions that are used all the time in Hebrew.

Nu?( נו) is a word that you can use almost anytime, anywhere.  It means So?  Huh?, What’s going on?  It demands a reply.

MozelTof  – (מזל טוב) I bet you didn’t know that it is actually Yiddish?  It means “Great luck for you!”  You can also say this sarcastically.

Oy Vey (אוי וי) This is used when something bad has happened to you.  The whole expression is Oy vey is mir (אוי וי יז מיר) which means, Oh woe is me!

A Yiddish word that has really made it is Glitch (גליצ)  This means a minor problem. Most people use it nowadays in reference to a computer problem  I have a computer glitch.


There are many more Yiddish words that are used in Hebrew, just listen and have fun with language.

Vocabulary – Yiddish used in Hebrew




מזל טוב

אוי וי

אוי וי יז מיר


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