mazume

Pronunciations

mazume (muh-ZOO-muh) listen

Definitions

  • n. "A group of three or more adult males who join together to recite the after-meal blessings..." (Steinmetz)

  • n. "Ready money, cash." (Steinmetz)

Example Sentences

  • "In what historians would later call The Great Depression, a nickel was a lot of mazuma and its economic power could buy a brand new Spaldeen..." (source).

  • "We have a mezumen, let's bentsh."

  • "Has he got mazuma!" (Rosten)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish

Etymology

  • Hebrew מזמן mezuman, 'prepared, ready', Yiddish מזמן mezumn 'cash'

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage

      Regions

      • North America

      Dictionaries

      • 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 Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      mezumn, mezumonim, mazumen, mezumen, mazuman, mezuman, mezumeh, mazumeh, mazuma, mezume, mazumah, mezumah, mezuma

Notes

  • With the after-meal blessings usage, it is often used in the phrase "to bentsh mezumen... The Hebrew-origin term for such a combination of three or more is a zimmun" (Steinmetz). In some non-Orthodox communities, the term can be used to refer to three or more Jewish adults, not just men.

    "The idea is that a group of three or more adults who have eaten together should not simply say Grace After Meals separately but as a group—group worship is more inspiring and bonds Jews together" (Glinert).

    The meaning of cash developed in Yiddish and became common in Jewish English and broader English in the US and Canada in the late 19th and early 20th century. H.L. Mencken mentions its use in New York and even in Kansas in 1916 (source).

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