Is “Tuches” in the Dictionary?


The word “tuches” does not appear anywhere in Uriel Weinreich’s Modern English-Yiddish, Yiddish-English Dictionary (1968).  Even though Weinreich’s is one of the most beloved and relied-upon Yiddish-English dictionaries around, the revered linguist was perhaps overly focused on “correct” Yiddish – no dirty words, no casual idioms and no daytshmerish (a derogatory terms for a style of Yiddish that borrowed heavily – and some said, pompously – from high German).

So when Drs. Solon Beinfeld and Harry Bochner got together to edit the forthcoming Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictonary, it was not just so they could include words like “tuches” – though, let’s face it, insults and dirty words are among the juiciest aspects of that (and any) language – but also so that Yiddish students, researchers, scholars and the Yiddish-curious would have access to a broader and more expansive vocabulary than is currently available. Back in the day, many of the words that found their way into Yiddish literature were more colloquial than proper, and this dictionary doesn’t just know that; it celebrates it.

The dictionary (the featured subject of a recent National Yiddish Book Center podcast) boasts 37,000 words to Weinreich’s approximately 24,000. It is clearly laid out, user-friendly, and will be fully accessible online. Tell your bubbe!

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