(Yiddish) excessive sentimentality in art or music
schmaltz and sentimentality that often clog this concerto were largely cleared away.
—New York Times (Jan 10, 2013)
From the Yiddish
shmalts, "melted fat," which is another one of the word's meanings. In the context of food,
schmaltz refers specifically to rendered chicken fat.
a highly seasoned cut of smoked beef
This is a nice, normal plate of fettuccine, except that it tastes exactly like a Katz’s
pastrami on rye with mustard.
—New York Times (Jul 9, 2013)
The Yiddish is
pastrame, coming from either a Turkish word for "dried meat" or the Greek
postono, which means "I salt." Either way, the
-mi spelling is probably the influence of
organized persecution of an ethnic group, especially Jews
The Jewish people faced persecution for millenniums: the 1190 massacre of the Jews at York, the
pogroms of tsarist Russia, the Dreyfus affair of France.
—The Guardian (Jul 20, 2014)
The Yiddish is also
pogrom, from a Russian word
pogromu, which means "devastation." When divided into its component parts,
gromu literally translates as "after thunder."
merchandise that is shoddy or inferior
But it’s also true that interesting movies of all kinds still manage to fight through the
dreck — to be produced, seen and appreciated.
—New York Times (Mar 11, 2011)
drek, "filth, trash." A popular theory connects this word etymologically to the Greek and Latin words for "dung, excrement," although there is no concrete proof of such a link.
a fault or defect in a computer program, system, or machine
One big stumble came last month when a computer
glitch sent invalid licenses to hundreds of those who thought they had navigated the difficult process.
—Los Angeles Times (Oct 17, 2014)
glitsh, "a slip." In Yiddish, this came to mean a literal slip, as on icy ground.
a decent responsible person with admirable characteristics
Mencken described a
mensch this way: “an upright, honorable, decent person” and “someone of consequence.”
—Time (Aug 13, 2014)
mensch, from the German for "man, person."
(Yiddish) a prank or piece of clowning
They’ve all been encouraged to show off their goofiest
shtick like so many peacocks spreading their tails for public admiration.
—New York Times (Sep 28, 2014)
shtik, "an act or gimmick," but literally "a piece, a slice."
merchandise that is shoddy or inferior
The movie is exploitative
schlock; both its stars — particularly Meester, who has something, although she herself has perhaps not yet figured out what — deserve better.
—Time (Feb 7, 2011)
shlak, which means "dregs, dross," or
shlogn, "to strike."
express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness
Twitter has long been the
kvetching board of the Internet, with users constantly complaining about everything from geopolitics to One Direction fans.
—Time (Sep 3, 2013)
kvetshn, literally to "squeeze or press."
pull along heavily, like a heavy load against a resistance
Then he had to stand in line, waiting for up to a further three hours to be seen, before finally making another two-hour
—The Guardian (Oct 27, 2014)
shlepen, "to drag." The first appearance in print in English is in James Joyce's
Ulysses: “Across the sands of all the world, followed by the sun’s flaming sword, to the west, trekking to evening lands. She trudges, schlepps, trains, drags, trascines her load."
(of a female body) healthily plump and vigorous
We’ve learned enough not to call the fat lady “fat” in her own hearing, but when she’s merely
zaftig, it seems, she’s fair game.
—Washington Post (June 5, 2014)
zaftik, which literally means "juicy." Through the Middle High German
saft, this word is related to the English word
extravagant showiness that is tasteless or superficial
People think “Cosmos” and picture
glitz, glamour, and grandiose.
—The Guardian (Oct 21, 2014)
(Yiddish) a timid unfortunate simpleton
Kerry himself was labeled “
nebbish,” a Yiddish word for a timid, ineffectual individual.
—US News (Jul 29, 2014)
nebbech. The word or its close relative is widespread in Slavic, and all the words indicate "poor, unfortunate." The
ne- element is a negation, so the literal meaning is "without portion."
talk in a friendly way, especially to gain an advantage
Instead of buying ads based on fancy presentations and
schmoozing from ad executives, brands are increasingly buying ads based on automated data.
—Forbes (Oct 9, 2014)
shmuesn, "to chat." This word likely ultimately derives from Hebrew
shemu'oth, "news, rumors."
(Yiddish) a dolt who is a habitual bungler
Now they were fascinated with the idea that comedians were what they called “
schlemiel children,” kids who’d become class clowns because of stressful home lives.
—Slate (Apr 2, 2014)
Shlemiel was the last name of the title character in a 1813 German fable by A. von Chamisso. This was probably derived from the biblical character of