bubbe-myseh, bubbe-meiseh, bubbe-meise, bubbe mayseh, bobe mayse
- "old wive's tale"; an untrue story, sometimes related to superstition
- "Something of little importance, an inconsequential thing or minor happening." (JPS)
- "Stop complaining about how much trouble it was to return this sweater. What a bubbe meise." (JPS)
- "All the stuff about the oil lasting eight days is just a bubbe meise. What really happened is written down in the Book of Maccabees." (http://www.nymf.org/Story-115.html)
Languages of Origin
Textual Hebrew, Yiddish
באָבע־מעשׂה bóbe-mayse 'tall tale'
Who Uses This
Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage
The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003).
Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
JPS: The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)
Despite the common assumption that this comes from באָבע bobe, Yiddish for "grandmother," it actually stems from בבֿא־בוך Bove-Bukh, a Yiddish romantic epic published in 16th-century Italy (and the term is sometimes spelled בבֿא־מעשׂה).
Edit See something you disagree with? Feel free to edit it. All changes will be moderated.