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Common Yiddish Words to Add to Your Scrabble Shtick

yiddish word tuchus

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The list of valid Scrabble words continues to grow as more foreign words become commonplace in English. Good examples of this include common Yiddish words. English speakers, particularly in North America and the United Kingdom, have increasingly included them as part of everyday speech. Keep reading to learn about some Yiddish words that can add more variety and flair to your Scrabble vocabulary.

Shtick

“Shtick” refers to a person’s or a group’s unique characteristics or traits. People commonly use it to describe gimmicks or activities that garner attention from audiences for entertainment purposes.

  • Example: My favorite comedian’s main shtick is to incorporate props into his standup routine.

  • Scrabble Score: 15 points

Spiel

“Spiel” can be used as a noun or a verb and it refers to a long-winded speech. Typically, the type of speech in question contains a lot of extravagant wording or phrasing. It’s meant to convince the listener to either believe something or perform an action.

  • Example: The car salesman gave me a long spiel about why I should buy the extended warranty.

  • Scrabble Score: 7 points

yiddish word spielyiddish word spiel

Schlep

“Schlep” means to carry or drag something around. It’s a Jewish slang word to convey a total or near-total frustration with anything you find yourself being forced to lug around for whatever reason.

  • Example: My back hurts because I had to schlep my suitcase all over town before I could drop it off in my hotel room.

  • Scrabble Score: 13 points

Tuchus

“Tuchus” is a common Yiddish word that is often amusing for people. The term is used to describe someone’s rear end or buttocks. It’s also the type of word a parent or grandparent might use when talking to a young child when they want to avoid the more crass synonyms for a person’s backside.

  • Example: He wasn’t being careful and fell right on his tuchus when he tried to run down the icy sidewalk.

  • Scrabble Score: 11 points

Bagel

“Bagel” is one of the most commonly used Yiddish words in English. In fact, many people probably don’t know that the term is Yiddish in origin. A bagel is a type of bread made from yeast dough and is often served as breakfast.

  • Example: I decided to bring some bagels to the office this morning to surprise everyone.

  • Scrabble Score: 8 points

Drek

“Drek” (sometimes spelled as “dreck”) is a great word to use when you really want to convey your strong feelings about something without being overly harsh. It’s a noun that means something is worthless, trash or just plain junk. 

  • Example: I was excited to read this new book. Unfortunately, it was such drek that I gave up after a few chapters.

  • Scrabble Score: 9 points

yiddish word drekyiddish word drek

Schmutz

“Schmutz” is a strong Yiddish word that really shows the language’s Germanic origins. The noun can be used as a synonym for words like dirt, grime or stain. It usually signifies a small amount of the filthy material in question.

  • Example: Get a napkin and wipe that schmutz off your face.

  • Scrabble Score: 23 points

Klutz

“Klutz” is a fast way to describe anyone who is prone to being clumsy, awkward or stupid. In British slang, you might say the person is gormless. When you want to make it clear that someone is not the most capable or they have a knack for causing accidents, “klutz” is a good go-to option.

  • Example: We don’t let Sandy stock the top shelves. She’s too much of a klutz and keeps dropping everything when she tries to reach up there.

  • Scrabble Score: 18 points

Huck

“Huck” is a verb that means to toss or throw something. In terms of definition, sound and spelling, “huck” is nearly identical to the word “chuck.” It can be used in much the same way too. The only difference is that “chuck” can be used as a noun in some instances.

  • Examples: I’m going to huck this leftover birthday cake if no one wants it.

  • Scrabble Score: 13 points

yiddish word huckyiddish word huck

Schlub

“Schlub,” like klutz, is far from being a word of endearment. While it can signify that a person is foolish or clumsy, it also describes someone who is unkempt or simply unattractive. It’s definitely not something you want to hear someone say about you.

  • Example: All of his shirts are covered in stains. They make him look like such a schlub when he goes out.

  • Scrabble Score: 13 points

Kosher

“Kosher” is one of the most common Yiddish words heard and used in English. It refers to something that is clean, appropriate or permissible. It regularly describes if certain foods are acceptable for Jewish people to eat according to their religious practices.

  • Example: Hannah is coming to the cookout, so I made sure to buy some kosher hot dogs for her.

  • Scrabble Score: 13 points

Make the Most of These Yiddish Gems 

This list of Yiddish words should help get you started on improving your Scrabble skills and enhancing your vocabulary. There are of course a ton of other common Yiddish words you can learn, but for now, you can take the words you’ve learned here and play some Scrabble with your friends to show off your new vocabulary. Just try to not beat anyone’s tuchus too badly. You don’t want to make someone feel like a schlub compared to you. At least, not entirely.


Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.

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