bubbale (BUH-buh-leh) listen


  • n. A term of endearment meaning sweetie or darling.

Example Sentences

  • "'Elise,' I’d say, 'bubbeleh, you’ve got to stop stressing about what other people think.'" (source)

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • באָבעלע bobele (little bean; fritter; endearing form of grandmother) from Slavic word for old woman/grandmother or Germanic word for bean or Germanic word for fritter OR בובעלע bubele (little doll; fritter) from Hebrew word בובה buba

    • Who Uses This

      • Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
      • Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).

      Alternative Spellings

      bubeleh, bubbaleh, bubale, bubala, bobale, bubbeleh, bubele


  • This word has several meanings (and origins) in Yiddish, and it is unclear which came to influence the Jewish English word. One possible origin is the diminutive for grandmother, because there are parallel ways to call children using other kinship terms: "tatele" (little father) and "mamele" (little mother, which was even calqued by Russian Jews into Russian language as "mamochka" and sometimes used even for boys). Another possible origin is "bobele" (little bean), as it refers to small stature. Yet another is that the word entered Yiddish from the German "bubi" (lad).

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