Michael Wex has written Just Say Nu: Yiddish For Every Occasion (Harper) and he says the common terms really refer to a males member.
That means calling someone a schmuck or putz is much worse than calling them a jerk youre actually calling them a penis.
Wex explains, These words have become cute in English, but in Yiddish theyre much dirtier. Its worse than calling someone a dick or a prick. Its the equivalent of English words that start with mother.
Wex says uttering the terms carelessly around Yiddish speakers could guarantee a kid or adult a mouth full of soap.
Another surprising fact about Yiddish is that it may be one of the lost romance languages.
Wex says there are tons of Yiddish pick-up lines including 11 ways to refer to breasts and 12 ways to refer to female privates and judging by the large size of Jewish families, the language of love mustve worked its magic at some point.
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