German words with Hebrew origin

Have you ever noticed that the German language has a lot of words from Hebrew? Maybe you’re wondering : “But how is that possible? German and Hebrew are extremely different languages!”

Sure, but most Jewish people in Central and Eastern Europe used to speak the Yiddish language, a Germanic language (similar to German), which contains many Hebrew words. Some of them entered the German language, and we still use them today.

Have a look at these beautiful examples:

  • “zocken” = to play and “abzocken” = “to rip off” → from Hebrew “sehoq” :money_mouth_face:
  • “Bammel haben” = to fear → from Hebrew “Baal Ema” = Lord of the fear :scream:
  • “geschlaucht sein” = to be exhausted → from Hebrew “schlacha” = throw down to the ground :sleeping:
  • “etwas vermasseln” = to muddle → from Hebrew “Mazal” = luck :persevere:
  • “Tacheles reden” = to talk straight → from Hebrew “Tachles” → sense :pleading_face:

Do you know some more German words with Hebrew or Yiddish origin?

Could you form sentences in which you use those words? :thinking:


Hey @SKrausser,

what about the word ,beschugge’’ or ,meschugge’’? When I grew up in Nord-Baden, I used to hear the word ,beschugge’’ a lot, which means ,dumm, verrückt, blöd’’ .

Did people use this when you grew up in the Schwabe-Ländle?


Yessss, “meschugge” like “crazy” (in a slightly positive sense) is absolutely common. And it’s another of those beautiful Hebrew words! :+1:t4:


How about “Mischpoke” @SKrausser?
As far as I know a derogative term for family. In Berlin you can even by that :wink:



“Maloche” synonymous with hard work :muscle:


I love this topic!! Super interesting!

Have you seen the netflix series Unorthodox?? They speak Yiddish and its crazy how similar it is to german!


I really liked the Series!
And I did understand quite a part of the Yiddish


Here is another beautiful word with a Hebrew / Yiddish origin:

der Pleitegeier

It sounds like a “bancrupt vulture” (“pleite” = bankrupt and “der Geier” = “vulture”).

But it has a slightly other meaning: “pleite” originally means “escape” and “Geier” comes from “gehen” (to go), so this word means “someone who is on the escape” (due to financial problems).

@Streamers: This would be a wonderful topic for a future Stream :sweat_smile:

1 Like

:sunglasses: :+1: @SKrausser I always thought it refers to Geier as in vulture. Meaning that the vultures are already fly in circles once somebody goes broke :thinking:. I never new that it meant gehen :walking_woman: :joy: