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April 02, 2011

Word of the Day

  • meshuggener
  • audio pronunciation
  • \muh-SHUG-uhner\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: a foolish or crazy person
  • EXAMPLES

Alex wondered what kind of meshuggener would be foolish enough to buy bonds from a known scam artist.

"'Take no notice,' she said…. 'The man's a meshuggener.'" -- From Howard Jacobson's 2010 novel The Finkler Question

  • DID YOU KNOW?

From "bagel" and "chutzpah" to "shtick" and "yenta," Yiddish has given English many a colorful term over the years. "Meshuggener" is another example of what happens when English interprets that rich Jewish language. "Meshuggener" comes from the Yiddish "meshugener," which in turn derives from "meshuge," an adjective that is synonymous with "crazy" or "foolish." English speakers have used the adjective form, "meshuga" or "meshugge," to mean "foolish" since the late 1800s; we've dubbed foolish folk "meshuggeners" since at least 1900.

Test Your Memory: What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "One ___________ benefit to Beatrice’s job at the movie theater is the ability to catch an early glimpse of all the new releases"? The answer is ...

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