Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Joys of Yinglish: An Exuberant Dictionary of Yiddish Words, Phrases, and Locutions ...” as Want to Read:
The Joys of Yinglish: An Exuberant Dictionary of Yiddish Words, Phrases, and Locutions ...
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Joys of Yinglish: An Exuberant Dictionary of Yiddish Words, Phrases, and Locutions ...

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  540 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Leo Rosten has created a sweeping survey of that delicious amalgam of Yiddish and English that has made such an enormous impact wherever English is spoken or understood.
Hardcover, 584 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by McGraw-Hill Companies (first published 1968)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Joys of Yinglish, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Joys of Yinglish

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
W.B.
Jul 09, 2009 W.B. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never read this before! The perfect bathroom/bathtub book! Very funny! I hope to assimilate at least half of the words in here.
Martin
Jun 29, 2015 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was highly recommended by Rick Moranis on the Nerdist podcast, where he discussed its influence on his comedy and on his recent country album. It mostly takes the form of a dictionary, but the definitions vary. Some are very cut and dry. Others are humorous, or include humorous stories to illustrate the definition. And a few are more like wikipedia entries on a broad subject, like the brief history of False Messiahs. And then there is an entry, like the long passage on Shabbos, which a ...more
David
Oct 06, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, it's a dictionary, but the best definitions ever! If you've ever wondered what the difference is between a schlemiel and a schlamazel, or the grades of 'oy' (oy, oy vey, oy gevalt!) this is the book for you. Lots of practical examples and real-life usages. There's even a few serious entries. A great reference to have around.
John Machata
Dec 15, 2016 John Machata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book.
Jules Vilmur
May 17, 2011 Jules Vilmur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A dictionary to fall in love with: I never wished I'd studied Linguistics as badly as I did while reading this book. In the preface, Rosten writes "I think Yiddish a language of exceptional charm ... a tongue that never takes its tongue out of its cheek." and then he goes on to demonstrate that charm and cheekiness for 500 some-odd pages.
Chuck
Oct 11, 2014 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very useful and informative book, especially for the uninitiated (enjoyable and colorful, too). Unfortunately one cannot read it without reflecting on the obliteration of the vibrant centers of Yiddish culture in central and eastern Europe in the middle years of the 20th century. Terrible loss for humanity.
Duzzlebrarian
Dec 15, 2008 Duzzlebrarian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the only dictionary I have ever read cover-to-cover, and the only dictionary I'd call a must-read. I read it, and came to an earth-shattering conclusion: all the people I know who think they're Afrikaners are actually, secretly, deep in their bones, Yiddish. And the reverse is probably true, too.
The Library Lady
The book I turn to whenever I am writing about Yiddish. Not only a language book--there are wonderful classic Jewish jokes here as well.
Marilyn Hartl
Jun 08, 2010 Marilyn Hartl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Vat can I say...I was in love with a Vonderful Jewish man...I read everything I could to keep up with all the crazy things he said. It was a funny, fun book. It was a long time ago. Life goes on.
Ben Peters
I tried to not enjoy this book but couldn't help myself. It is a romp of a good time rolled up into a reference book. A summary of Leo Rosten's points and a small sampling of anecdotes and aphorisms follow. I find it personally odd that I had to leave New York for a year in Jerusalem before I discovered this book. One of my colleagues here said the volume was like sacred scripture for him growing up in Brooklyn.

A reference built for lovers of language, culture, and laugh-out-loud witticism, The
...more
M Christopher
Dec 17, 2016 M Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sociology
Many thanks to my dear friend and colleague, Rev. Steven Greenebaum, for loaning me his copy of this gem -- the "unreconstructed" version. A true delight as Rosten pairs lexicographical entries with marvelous anecdotes and the wit that has marked generations of Jewish storytellers. His occasional notation that persons in the world of entertainment know and use more Yiddish than they suspect is right on the mark. Whether it's through my long career in that industry, my interfaith work, or just be ...more
Arthur Gershman
Nov 22, 2012 Arthur Gershman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one can say it better than Leo Rosten whose subtitle to "Joys" reads: "A relaxed lexicon of Yiddish, Hebrew and Yinglish words often encountered in English, plus dozens that ought to be, with serendipitous excursions into Jewish humor, habits, holidays, history, religion, ceremonies, folklore, and cuisine, the whole generously garnished with stories, anecdotes, epigrams, Talmudic quotations, folk sayings and jokes-from the days of the Bible to those of the beatnik."
Written in 1968 and an inst
...more
Ellen
Aug 05, 2011 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've owned this book for about 20 years, and I still pick it up and browse through it periodically. With his fabulous sense of humor Rosten takes the reader through a history of Yiddish and common words and phrases, explaining them with in a really witty way. I can remember my grandparents and parents using some of these words and phrases, but as they were all born in America they weren't fluent speakers of Yiddish.

I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about Yiddish and incor
...more
Rhonda Keith
Jun 26, 2012 Rhonda Keith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you get the older or the newer edited version, if you like language you must have this on your shelf. Leo Rosten, the original writer/editor, lists Yiddish words and their definitions, but also adds cultural explanations, stories and jokes, to explain the sense of the words in depth. Essential for anyone who wants a better understanding of the contributions of Yiddish to English. You can dip into it anywhere to learn and enjoy.
Crystal
Jul 07, 2012 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic book, filled with jokes and anecdotes that had me laughing out loud. Having studied some German, I thoroughly enjoyed all the linguistic trivia, as well as Rosten's decided opinions of which words should (or shouldn't) be used. The book took me much longer to read than anticipated since it reads a bit like a dictionary, but it was well worth it in the end.
Shoshi
Feb 27, 2014 Shoshi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolute, funny and hilarious book. A joy to read. I couldnt stay away from reading the anecdotes, jokes and little stories. The famous humor from the Jewish people. Yiddish is a combination of German, mixed with Eastern languages and some Hebrew. Its a dying language. Highly recommended !
Judith
Jan 17, 2011 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yiddish is such fun, bubeleh! And we use it all the time without knowing it.

Leo Rosten is hilarious but so snobby ("Mother would never...") and not
culturally-sensitive. Was it the '60s or just the way he was?
Joy
For some reason my parents, mid-western blue collar Catholics, enjoyed books about Yiddish and the Jewish experience. I remembered the joke about the moyel (moehel?) for about twenty years before I understood it. So I still remember it. Look it up.
Keith
Enjoyable book about the Yiddish language which is a mixture of German and Hebrew. It was spoken by the Eastern European Jews (like Tevya in the Fiddler on the Roof), many of whom came to the U.S. We have fun words from this language like schlemiel and kitsch.
Retrovold
Dec 18, 2013 Retrovold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun-on-earth
This author is a man I like coming back to since my mum instoruced me to Mr. Kaplan who is just a brilliant man. Joys of Yiddish is filled with most amazing anecdote's that would just lighen up everyone even Snape perhaps.

Heather Maryson
Jan 15, 2014 Heather Maryson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book whether you are Jewish or not. Funny and enlightening Leo Rosten's typically Jewish self depricating humour makes you laugh out loud and also gives insight into this culture.
Anyone with an interest in Jewish culture will enjoy I am sure.
Jennie
Mar 13, 2011 Jennie is currently reading it
Boring it is not.
Robin Lionheart
Dec 18, 2011 Robin Lionheart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language
Not just a dictionary: Illustrates its words with entertaining jokes and anecdotes, making it entertaining light reading.
Hermien
Nov 29, 2012 Hermien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish, non-fiction
Excellent reference book with many entertaining examples.
Stefanie
Nov 08, 2015 Stefanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part of the Jewish-American literary canon. Must have on every shelf.
Caitlin
The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten (1970)
Dottie
Dec 27, 2007 Dottie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1967-1997, own
Somehow or other I've had a word or two or three of Yiddish become part of my vocabulary in a way which seems they were forever -- and I find myself adding more as years pass. And so -- this book.
Deborah
Jun 08, 2012 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What's not to love?
Albie
JOYS OF YIDDISH by Leo Rosten (1991)
Shirley
Nov 14, 2010 Shirley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book many years ago. Pulled it out recently for my husband to use for research. I love Leo Rosten and this book is both entertaining and informative.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Just Say Nu: Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won't Do)
  • World of Our Fathers: The Journey of the East European Jews to America and the Life They Found and Made
  • Jewish With Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice
  • Jewish Wisdom: Ethical, Spiritual, and Historical Lessons from the Great Works and Thinkers
  • To Be A Jew: A Guide To Jewish Observance In Contemporary Life
  • The Dictionary of Cliches
  • The Jewish Book of Why
  • Reverse Dictionary (Readers Digest)
  • Benevolence and Betrayal: Five Italian Jewish Families Under Fascism
  • The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir
  • Living a Jewish Life
  • X-Treme Latin: All the Latin You Need to Know for Surviving the 21st Century
  • Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories
  • The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time
  • To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking
  • Country of Ash: A Jewish Doctor in Poland, 1939-1945
  • The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms
  • The Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus
59780
Leo Calvin Rosten was born in Lodz, Russian Empire (now Poland) and died in New York City. He was a teacher and academic, but is best known as a humorist in the fields of scriptwriting, storywriting, journalism and Yiddish lexicography.
More about Leo Rosten...

Share This Book



“An official brought the chief rabbi of a town before the Court of the Inquisition and told him, “We will leave the fate of your people to God. I’m putting two slips of paper in this box. On one is written ‘Guilty.’ On the other is written ‘Innocent.’ Draw.” Now this inquisitor was known to seek the slaughter of all the Jews, and he had written “Guilty” on both pieces of paper. The rabbi put his hand inside the box, withdrew a slip of paper—and swallowed it. “What are you doing?” cried the inquisitor. “How will the court know—” “That’s simple,” said the rabbi. “Examine the slip that’s in the box. If it reads ‘Innocent,’ then the paper I swallowed obviously must have read ‘Guilty.’ But if the paper in the box reads ‘Guilty,’ then the one I swallowed must have read ‘Innocent.” 2 likes
“If God lived on earth,” goes a sardonic Yiddish saying, “people would knock out all His windows.” 1 likes
More quotes…