• v. To feel or express pride; to be extraordinarily pleased.

  • v. To gloat; enjoy someone else's defeat.

Example Sentences

  • "I hear your daughter will be singing with the SF Opera! So you're kvelling, of course."

  • “At their boy’s bar mitzva, naturally, they kvelled.” (NJY)

  • “All right, be charitable, don’t kvell over his mistake.” (NJY)

  • “Every decent man will kvell when that sadist goes to jail.” (NJY)

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • קװעלן kveln 'to beam (at), be delighted (in)'

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • 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).

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