Jewish Words (Explained)

Lechaim, to life!

There are many Jewish words that you might hear and wonder what they mean.

Even as Jews, there are many words we hear and don't entirely know what they mean.

This article will help uncover the common Jewish Words.

History of Jewish Words

When The Jews received The Torah, it was Written in Hebrew, 3,333 years ago, on Mt. Sinai.

Since then, Hebrew is the language of Jews.

There are English translations of Jewish Texts, however the English translation will never compare to understanding and learning in Hebrew.


Because every word and sentence is perfectly joined and it can often be lost when translating into English.

There are also some Jewish Texts that are in Aramaic.

Jewish Slang

There are a variety of words that are used by Jews.

Within 'Jewish Slang' it is either in Yiddish or Hebrew.

Yiddish Jewish Slang


Chutzpah is a cheeky person who will do whatever needs to be done in order to get their foot in the door.

Having some chutzpah is an important character trait that will get you far in life. Too much chutzpah can work against you so be cheeky but know when to take your foot off the gas.

Example: "I asked my doctor for a letter confirming I am fit and healthy and they tried to charge me $30. What a Chutzpah!


Lechaim! You hear this when glasses are raised in a toast, when a glass is smashed at a wedding, or any party celebration in between.

Example: Guests sitting at table "Everyone! Raise your glasses I want to make a Lechaim!"

Oy Vey

Ugh! Really! Oy Vey is: I cannot believe I have to do this. It can also be something more mild.

Example: I spill ketchup on the counter "Oy Vey"


Nosh. Munch. Snacks. Finger food. Don't be suprised when you go into Jewish homes that some Jewish moms are queens of the nosh draw. The nosh draw will have all the chocolate, chips and every other snack inbetween. Fruit is NOT nosh! Hehe.

Example: What nosh do you have? We have chocolate or wafers?


Basically it means: Argh! It is so long to get there. It does not necessarily mean a long distance. It can also mean a short distance but it is a nightmare to navigate.

Example: I am not going to the game. It is too much of a schlep.


What a great individual. Just an all round top person. It can be a little child or an older adult. Although usually it is used to describe an young child when they are helpful, kind and respectful.

Example: Aw! You did the dishwasher? You are such a mentch. Thank you!


The klutz always forgets things. They are clumbsy, forgetful and usually very funny. Klutz basically means clumbsy.

Example: You forgot the keys! You are such a klutz!

Hebrew Jewish Slang

These words aren't exactly slang.

However, they are commonly used and worth knowing.


Davka is really hard to translate. In simple terms, 'there you have it!' It's like... exactly! It's like an ironic 'I told you so'.

Example: All day long they were gossiping about us in Hebrew and then davka I told them I speak Hebrew too.


Mamash is a beautiful word. It is like the most beautiful way of saying very. It's like using the words: very, extremely, really and truly all in one word.

Example: I was mamash excited when I heard you are coming home to visit us!


Tachles is like 'Give it to me straight' Cut the waffling. No sidetracking. Just give it to me straight. 110% Honesty. Don't beat around the bush.

Example: Tachles, I want to go on a run now.


Achi is brother. Many Jews will call their male friends achi. It's like in English calling your friend 'bro/brother/mate/lad'

Example: Achi, let's go swim in the sea


Gever is man. Literally the same as achi in the sense that it is used to call a male friend.

Example: How are you doing gever?


Sababa is Hebrew slang for I'm feeling chilled. Or, everything's cool.

Example: Friend asks how you are doing Sababa


Yalla is a fascinating word because it can be used in a friendly way and a rude way. Yalla means come on you can do it. It also means hurry up, let's get a move on. It also means saying goodbye to someone! It is a very versatile word.

Examples: Yalla keep going! / Yalla what is taking you so long?! / Yalla bye!

As far as Jewish words go, we could go on for hours as there are so many.

Those are some popular ones but we highly reccomend learning Hebrew.

It is the most beautiful language in the world with such depth and meaning in every word.

Till next time!


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