List of German words from Hebrew and Yiddish

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The German language has borrowed many expressions from Hebrew ("Hebraisms") , most of them through the teaching of Yiddish ; Many of these “Yiddisms” came into German via Rotwelsche , that is, the secret or special language of travelers , which is peppered with many Yiddish words but based on German .

German words borrowed from Yiddish

Also listed below are some non-Hebrew Yiddish words. The fact that most of the Yiddish loanwords in German are of Hebrew origin, although Hebrew words in Yiddish themselves make up 15% of the vocabulary, is due to the close relationship between German and Yiddish: more than two thirds of the Yiddish vocabulary is inherited from Middle High German and can be found - mutatis mutandis - also in New High German again; borrowing from the already common vocabulary is of course unnecessary.

German Yiddish Hebrew Remarks
rip off s. u. gamble s. u. gamble take advantage of someone, take advantage of; also: clearly defeating someone in (gambling or computer games) - it is derived from the West Yiddish zchoke ('to laugh'), which in turn comes from the Hebrew lexeme sehoq (for 'to play', actually 'to laugh') and was borrowed from Rotwelschen .
boiled out clever, clever; from German aus- , -ge and Hebrew חכם chacham, chochem , "wise, clever"
jitters perhaps via the Yiddish ( fearful person ) from the Hebrew baal emoh " fearful ", fromבַּעַל baal = lord and ema = fear.
Beisel , Beize, Beizn, Boazn Pub; from Hebrewבַּיִת bajit adopted into German via Yiddish bajis (both house ), especially in the southern German language area. In Viennese pubs are called “ Beisl ”.
inspire be wel, seibel זבל[ 'zɛvɛl ] " Dung , excrement" cheat, literally "shit"
wealthy betuch "safe, trustworthy" baṭuaḥ , batuach "trustworthy", fromבָּטַח batach "trust" In today's German usage in the sense of "wealthy"; contrary to the sense of language not derived from cloth
blue (~ to be, to make) be-lo בלא[ bɛ'lɔ ] "with nothing, without" drunk, lazy, doing nothing; but see also blue making
Bohei (German) or Pahöll (Austrian) paihe "noise" Quarrel, excitement, riot, noise
Chutzpah חוצפה Chutzpah חֻצְפָּהChuz'pa, [χuts'pa] Insolence, audacity
smell, tofte; (Austrian) toffe טוֹב toff "good" טוֹב tov "good" via the crooks language into Berlinish
to soap (sb. ~) sewel (Heb.זבל[ 'zɛvɛl ]) " Dung , excrement" The original meaning z. B. in "soaping while shaving". The transferred meaning “to cheat sb. sth. persuade "possibly by adapting to Rotwelsch" beseiwelen "from West Yiddish" sewel "=" dirt "
Eizes, Ezzes (pl.) עצה = Advice Tips, advice
go flutes פליטה plejta [ plɛj'ta ] "escape, escape" Possibly via Yiddish slang from the same source as bankruptcy
crook גנבgannaw, [ga'nav] "steal"
rogue יוון jawan "Greece" from the Red Welsh Juonner " cardsharp ", which in turn probably goes back to Hebrew יוון jawan "Greece" (actually " Ionia ") via Yiddish . The word came up after the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, after which many homeless Greek exiles wandered through Europe.
hose schlacha "throw to the ground" exhausted
cocky boastful; from German large and Hebrew kozin "noble, rich" or qazin "leader"
Haberer חַבֵר chaver (= friend, buddy), plural:חַבֵרִים chaverim (= friends) In Austria, especially in the Central Bavarian language area north of the Alps, "Haberer" or "Hawara" mostly means friend or mate, but is also synonymous with "man" (not in the marital sense) or lover - here also belittled "Habschi" or in Vorarlberg "Habi" - used. The adjective behaved and the behavior does not sound very appreciative for connected in "rope team" and friendship economy.
Break a leg הצלחה וברכהHassloche uWroche, [has'lo'χə uv'roχə] הצלחה וברכהHazlacha uWracha, [hatsla'χa uvra'χa] Broken neck and leg is a corruption and comes from the Hebrew hazlacha uwracha (= "success and blessing"). This congratulation was pronounced in the Yiddish form hazloche and broche by Jews when concluding a deal and understood by German-speaking listeners as a broken neck .
Pike soup “It pulls like pike soup” possibly comes from the Yiddish hech supha and means “strong wind”. However, this etymology is even more implausible than “ Guter Rutsch ”: a) There is not a single textual evidence in the (older or modern) Yiddish literature (for “pike soup” or for hech supha ). b) There can be no such evidence, because “hech supha” is not possible with a full final vowel in Yiddish; There is a final syllable weakening - adapted to the Germanic development - after stressing the penultimate syllable in the word. Even the transcription with / ph / instead of / f / shows that “supha” is a word of non-Yiddish origin .
Ische אישה - Ischa - woman colloquial; from the point of view of a boy, a young man: girl, young woman
Dump The word used in German in some regions for “insignificant, small village in which nothing is going on” comes from the Hebrew word via Yiddish כָּפָר kafar (= "village"). In the etymological dictionary of the German language (EWD), however, the expression is traced back to Gav ( Romani for 'village').
kapores (to go, to be) kapores [ka'pores] kaparot כפרות[ kapa'ʁɔt ] Yiddish or, as a phrase, shluggen kapores . Based on a Jewish custom on Yom Kippur in which chickens are offered as "atonement" to represent a person's sins.
Kassiber , kassibern [kaˈsiːbɐ] כּתיבֿהyidd. kesive "letter, written" כְּתִיבָה keṯīvā (h), "(the) writing" exact basic form disputed
kess "Cheeky", "dashing", "brisk", according to the yidd. Pronunciation of the letter Chet, which stands for wisdom (Hochma)
gravel כִיס kiss [ kis ] Kies in the sense of money goes back to the word kis (= "purse").
gap qĕlippä "shell, bark" in terms of clothing, about the Rotwelsche
Talk about cabbage, char col qôl "rumor"
kosher כּשר[ 'kojʃɛr ] כּשרKascher, [ka'ʃɛʀ] Kosher originally means "fit, healthy" (in modern Hebrew , cheder kosher means fitness room). The Jews use kosher to refer to foods that are permitted according to the Torah .
throw up qoz "disgust" spit

(Can also be of late Middle High German origin.)

Maloche מְלָאכָהm e lā (') ḵā (h) hard work The original Hebrew word means “work”. Commonly used mainly in Ruhr German and Berlin .
Pig מזלMasal [ma'zal] mazel (= happiness). Proverb: Pig like a Goi (non-Jew) .
Masen, Masel מזלMasal [ma'zal] mazel (= happiness). Saying: "a Mas'n hom" or "a Mas'l hom" (lucky) in Bavaria and Austria in use
mutter moischele "Moses" מֹשֶׁה mosche "Moses" orמָשָׁל maschal "parable speech ; Saying; Burin speech " whisper behind his hand; intrigue, hang around, cheat
meschugge משוגע(Meschugge) [me'ʃuge] מְשׁוּגָע(Meschugga) [meʃu'ga] The Yiddish word for "crazy" goes back to the Hebrew meschuga , which means crazy, insane .
Mezíe / mezzie (fem., end-e p) Bargain , bargain .
bad mis "bad, disgusting" mĕ'is "bad, contemptible" Moved from Rotwelschen to Berlinisch in the 19th century
Mischpoke , Mischpoche משפחה Mischpoche [ miʃ'puχe ] מִשְׁפָּחָה Mishpacha [ miʃpa'χa ] Family, society, ties
Bankrupt , bankrupt vultures פּלטה( plejte ) "escape" פְּלֵטָה( pəlēṭā ), "Escape, escape, escape from an emergency" The Yiddish idiom plejte gejen did not initially denote insolvency per se , but rather the flight of a debtor who tries to evade his creditors or his guilty liability; in German such a plejte gejer was corrupted into a " bankrupt vulture". The saying “go flute” (see above) may also have the same origins.
Junk rama'ut רָמָאוּת[ rama'ut ] "deceit" worthless stuff

(Can also be of Middle High German origin.)

Reibach רווח Rewach , ['revaχ] The word Reibach comes from rewah and means "profit". Today mostly used in the sense of "high" profit. In Eastern Austria also known as “Rewag” in the sense of “benefit, advantage”: “That has no Rewag”. Ugs. also: Rebbach.
Rish rish risch'ut רשעוּת "Malice" in Yiddish slang for anti-Semitism
haggle sakar שכר[ sa'χaʀ ]
engage in unfair trading
shafts שחט( chachat , [ʃa'χat] )
ritually slaughter properly
Shame Trash, worthless stuff.
Send it שיקסע שֶקֶץ( šeqeẓ ), "unclean, abhorrent" In Yiddish, Schickse or Schiksa was called “Christian girl ” and was often used as a swear word.
smarter , fed up, fed up, fed up שיכּור shiker שִׁכּוֹר šikōr drunk, drunk
mess שלימזל (Schlimasel) Misfortune ; Counterpart to "pig"; "Schlamassel ham" - have depressing worries; "Stuck in a mess" - to find yourself in a rather hopeless situation. See also Schlemihl .
slime, slime schelem ['ʃɛlɛm] “reimbursement; Thanks “or schalmon [ʃal'mɔn]
Goo שמירה[ 'ʃmirə ] שמירה[ ʃmi'ʀa ] Schmiere (= guard) stand from shmíra (= guard). Schmiere was adopted as the name for " police " in Rotwelsche.
Lubricate- זמרה simrah [ zim'ʀa ] (= song) Schmiere (theater, comedy) in the sense of a theater stage
Schmock stupid or disliked person; Derived from Schmoo (someone who “builds / makes crap”).
Schmonzes Nonsense , derived from Schmoo
Schmonzette sentimental, dramatically worthless piece; from Schmonzes
Schmoo, Schmu Term for jewelry in the sense of trinket or Tinnef , z. B. also in variant: "Schmu make" = "build crap"
cuddle to be tender with someone, to flatter someone; about the Rotwelsche in the meaning "chat" or "flatter", from the Yiddish schmuo (plural schmuoss ), "rumor, story, chatter"
Schnorrer שנאָרער Since begging musicians often wandered through the country with noisy instruments such as the Schnorre , the Yiddish subsidiary form of the instrument name was transferred to the musicians.
schofel schophol "low" šạfạl "low" got into German via the Rotwelsche
Shaygets sheqetz Gentile boy or non-Jewish young man (unclean animal, disgusting creature, monster, rascal, unruly fellow, non-Jewish fellow according to Megiddo)
Shiksa feminine form of Shaygets also means slut , loose woman. See Schickse
Shit שטות shtus [ ʃtus ] "Nonsense, folly" šêtûṭ "nonsense, folly"
straight talking תכלית tachles "purpose, appropriate action" תכלית tachlit Speak openly and clearly, plain text, with a purpose or purpose
Techtelmechtel Techtelmechtel is a rhyming word in which the word tachti (= "secretly") is extended by an l ( techtl ) in slight variation ( mechtl ).
Tinnef טינוף tinnef טינוף ṭinnûf [ ti'nuf ] "excrement, dirt" Tinnef in the sense of "useless goods" came from the crooks language into German in the 19th century.
unaffected taam טעם[ 'taʔam ] "Taste, nuance, charm, finish" clumsy
gamble צחוקן chock "play" צחוק "laugh" play, gamble
Zoff sa'af זעף Quarrel, quarrel or strife.
Zores צרות zores [ tsores ] "worries" צרות zarot [ tsa'ʀɔt ] "worries, sorrow" Anger, quarrel, confusion
Also occurs in the phrase "(give him) a treat "
Zossen zosse (n) , sweet "horse" sûs "horse" (old) horse

German words borrowed from Hebrew

Words from the Bible

German Hebrew IPA (Hebrew pronunciation) Remarks
Amen אמן (amen) "So be it." [a'mɛn] The final word in prayer comes from the Greek language from Hebrew and expresses the consent of the person praying to what has just been said. The word is related to emunah = "trust".
Alleluia הַלְּלוּיָהּ (hallelu jah) "Praise Jah !" [halɛlu'ja]
Cheers יובל (jobel) "sound of the ram's horn" [jo'vɛl] The ram's horn was u. a. for the reverberation year that occurs every 49 years, in which fields and vineyards were not allowed to be cultivated. In the Vulgate , the Latin rendition of the Hebrew word was mixed with the vlat. anniversary "the shout" from lat. iubilare "shout" originated from this mixing annus iubilaeus , from Jubilee , Iubilaeum , from anniversary , and iubilarius , it honoree. These meanings are to be distinguished from the identical jubilation "Jauchzen, Frohlocken" and the associated verb jubilieren , which was already borrowed from the Latin jubilare in mhd. Times .
Messiah משיח (maschiach) "anointed one" [ma'ʃiaχ] derived from the verb mạšaḥ "anoint". In the Greek it was literally translated christos , from lat. Christus .
Rabbi / Rabbi רב (rav) [rav] about Greek and church Latin from the Hebrew honorary title rabbi , actually "my teacher"
רבּי (rabbí) "my teacher", from which Yiddish rebbe [ra'bi]
happy New Year ראש (rosch) "head, beginning" "Happy New Year" actually means "good (year) beginning".

Origin is controversial. See also article on Happy New Year .

Sabbath שבת (shabbat) "rest" [ʃa'bat] The Hebrew Shabbat became the German Saturday via the folk Greek Sambaton .
Shibboleth שִׁבּׁלֶת ( shibboleth ) " ear of grain" [ʃi'bɔlɛt] Password of social or regional origin, from Ri 12.5–6  EU : “Are you an Ephraimite? If he said no, they asked him: Say 'Shibboleth'. If he then said 'Sibboleth' because he could not pronounce it correctly, they seized him and killed him there by the waters of the Jordan. "
Tohuwabohu תהו ובהו (tohu wabohu) "desolate and confused" ['tɔhu va'vɔhu] taken from Gen 1,2  EU

Loan words from New Hebrew ( Ivrit )

German Hebrew Remarks
Shoah , also Shoah, Shoah or Shoah Hebrew הַשּׁוֹאָה ha'Schoah "the catastrophe", "the great misfortune / calamity" Shoah is the term used in Ivrit, i.e. the New Hebrew spoken in Israel, for the German genocide of European Jews . It is increasingly used in German, but the English term Holocaust is more common here , which in turn goes back to the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos "completely burned".
Uzi Hebrew עוזי[ ˈUːzi ] The "Uzi" is a submachine gun developed by Uzi Gal in 1949 for the Israeli armed forces . It is probably the best-known firearm in this segment today, so that "Uzi" is now used not only in German as a generic term for submachine guns.

Yiddisms and Hebraisms borrowed from third languages

Some Yiddisms and Hebraisms were borrowed from Hebrew via Yiddish into German through the teaching of third languages, e.g. from Dutch or English .

German Encoder language Yiddish / Hebrew Remarks
Gabber , also Gabba Dutch gabber , "guy, guy" yidd. חבֿר, chawwer , to Hebrew חָבֵר ḥāvēr , "friend" Gabber is a form of techno that first became popular in the Netherlands in the 1990s and soon across Europe.


  • Salcia Landmann : Yiddish. The adventure of a language . Walter, Olten, Freiburg im Breisgau 1962. (1986, ISBN 3-548-35240-5 )
  • Anja Liedtke, Meir Schwarz: That's how they say with us: Small Jewish-German dictionary. Project, Bochum / Freiburg im Breisgau 2012, ISBN 978-3-89733-253-9 .
  • Ronald Lötzsch : Duden Taschenbücher, Vol. 24, Yiddish dictionary. 2nd Edition. Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim 1992, ISBN 3-411-06241-X .
  • Heidi Stern: Dictionary of Yiddish loan vocabulary in German dialects . Niemeyer, Tübingen 2000, ISBN 3-484-39102-2 .
  • Andreas Nachama : Yiddish in Berlin jargon or Hebrew language elements in German vocabulary. Stapp-Verlag Berlin, 2000, ISBN 3-87776-417-7 .
  • Siegfried Kreuzer: From Ave to Zores. Hebrew and Semitic words in our language. In: Journal of Literary Studies and Linguistics. 121 (2001), pp. 98-114.
  • Hans P. Althaus: Zocker, Zoff & Zores: Yiddish words in German. Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-47616-3 .
  • Hans P. Althaus: Small lexicon of German words of Yiddish origin. 2nd Edition. Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-49437-4 .
  • Hans P. Althaus: Chutzpah, Schmus & Tacheles: Yiddish word stories . Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-51065-5 .
  • Karl-Heinz Best : Quantitative studies on the Yiddisms in German. In: Yiddish communications. 36, 2006, pp. 1-14.
  • Karl-Heinz Best: Hebraisms in German. In: Glottometrics. 27, 2014, pp. 10–17 (PDF full text ).
  • Christoph Gutknecht: Gauner, Großkotz, kesse Lola: German-Yiddish word stories. , be.bra verlag, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86124-696-1 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Yiddisms  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Hebraisms  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Christoph Gutknecht : Word of the Month February 2015 . In: , accessed on July 23, 2015.
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Duden: The dictionary of origin. 3. Edition. Dudenverlag, Mannheim 2001.
  3. cf. Karl Kraus : The last days of mankind. V act 27th scene
  4. a b Friedrich Kluge: Etymological dictionary of the German language ; 23rd, expanded edition. Walter de Gruyter, 1999.
  5. Haberer (friend) . in the database on the German language in Austria (page accessed on April 10, 2008)
  6. Haberer (man) . in the database on the German language in Austria (page accessed on April 10, 2008)
  7. Haberer (lover) . in the database on the German language in Austria (page accessed on April 10, 2008)
  8. ^ W. Pfeifer: Etymological dictionary of German . dtv, Munich 1995, p. 607
  9. In Wolfgang Pfeifer: Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen , dtv München 1995, p. 723 explained differently (onomatopoeic from late mhd. And early new high d. Koppen, koppel etc.)
  10. Masen . in the database on the German language in Austria (page accessed on April 10, 2008)
  11. ^ Wilhelm Gesenius : Hebrew and Aramaic concise dictionary . unchanged reprint of the 17th edition published in 1915. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg 1962.
  12. possibly comes from mhd. Râm
  13. Rewag . in the German-Austrian dictionary at (page accessed on May 12, 2008)
  14. Generic in: Hans Peter Althaus : A brief glossary of German words of Yiddish origin (page accessed on 17 June 2018)
  15. Tacheles talk in the Wiktionary
  16. Frank van Gemert et al. a .: Street Gangs, Migration and Ethnicity . Willan, 2008, ISBN 978-1-84392-396-1 , pp. 88 .
  17. Simon Reynolds: Generation ecstasy . Routledge, 1999, ISBN 978-0-415-92373-6 , pp. 227 .
  18. Lemma gabber in: Marlies Philippa et al .: Etymologically Woordenboek van het Nederlands . Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2003-2009.