Alternative Spellings

Yidish, Yidush, Yiddush


  • Traditional language of Ashkenazic Jewry. A descendant of High German, its vocabulary is roughly 80% Germanic, 10% Hebrew and 10% Slavic (depending on author/speaker and setting/genre)

Example Sentences

  • "My college roommate spoke Yiddish."

Languages of Origin



ייִדיש yidish 'lit. Jewish, Yiddish'

Who Uses This

Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


North America


The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

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