Word of the Day : April 2, 2011


noun muh-SHUG-uhner


: a foolish or crazy person

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.


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

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