Kernerman Dictionary News • Number 11 • July 2003

Instant Yinglish – Google’s Top Dozen
(adapted from the Meshuggenary)

Searching on gives a good indication of which Yinglish words are most frequently used today. Glitch and kosher top the charts, way ahead of all the rest; while even such well-known Yinglish words as nosh, knish, schnoz, schmuck and gonnif seem to have fallen behind in popularity, if one accepts Google’s results. With the following list of the top dozen in hand, you’ll be instantly up and running in Yinglish.

glitch. Slip-up; bug in the system. [232,000 hits]
kosher. Legit, on the up-and-up; ritually clean. [222,000]
bagel. The doughnut-shaped bread of champions. [145,000]
maven. Expert; pundit; smart aleck. [70,800]
yid. Jew, pronounced <yeed>. (But use with care: in U.S. slang, pronounced with a short i (as in bid), it is very disparaging.) [62,800]
klezmer. Lively, heart-tugging Yiddish folk music. [46,800]
mensch. Decent, trustworthy person. [42,600]
tush. Backside; rear end. [39,500]
schlock. Cheap or shoddy goods; junk. [39,300]
klutz. Clumsy, inept person; blockhead. [39,000]
schmooze. To chat or gossip; by extension, to network. [38,100]
chutzpah. Impudence; moxie; cojones. [32,700]

The above results were derived from searching on about a year ago for each of about 80 Yiddish-origins words that are now accepted in standard American English and would appear in up-to-date larger or unabridged dictionaries.  The search was restricted to English Web pages, searching on word clusters such as [glitch glitsh glitchy], [mensch mensh], and [tush tushy], to take into account alternative spellings and closely related uses. The search was carried out about one year ago. (To review the entire glossary of the most popular Yiddish-origin words, see “Yinglish 101” in the Meshuggenary.)


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