How about some cider? Be careful, though. If the cider doesn’t make your head spin, the origin of its name might. English got it from French sidre, which came from Latin sicera, which came from Greek ??????, which came from Hebrew shekar, “strong drink.” It’s not clear exactly how the k/c became d, but perhaps by way of z. And perhaps by way of quite a few glasses of strong drink.
What do you do at your jubileee while you’re noshing and drinking? You probably schmooze. ” It doesn’t have any Germanic relatives – Yiddish got it from Hebrew shemu’oth, “rumor.”
When you go to a jubilee to nosh and schmooze, you may put on a jacket. You are probably not aware of the debt your outerwear owes to Hebrew. The garment got its name from French jacquet, which came from the name Jacques – because a jacket was clothing for an ordinary Jack, not a rich Louis. Jacques is the French version of Jacob, which comes – via Latin and Greek – from Hebrew Ya’akov. Through a very interesting etymological trail winding through Italy and Spain, the same name also managed to become James. (James is one of a few names that English renders differently depending on whether it’s referring to an Old Testament or New Testament person. Another is Miriam, which is ent; and then there’s Joshua, which in the New Testament is anglicized as Jesus.)
There are a few schm– words that English got from Yiddish, so it may not surprise you that this is one. Well, it’s a modified one. The –y ending is pure English. And the meaning – “excessively sentimental, trite,” often used for music or other art – is not the original. In Yiddish it’s what you call rendered chicken (or goose) fat, which can be eaten spread on bread. It’s also a German word, though in German, Schmalz refers to any rendered fat. (Meanwhile, schmaltz herring is really fatty herring.)
In English we tend to use this word to mean “chat someone up,” but in Yiddish the verb shmuesn just means “chat
If you’re listening to a schmaltzy band playing and their amplifiers suddenly cut out, they might call it a glitch. Our word glitch, which started being used in English by American astronauts, is probably from Yiddish glitsh “slippery place.” It’s a Germanic word, related to glide.
If there’s a glitch and everything goes meshugah – well, I’m sure you know that meshugah is a Yiddish/Hebrew word. An English equivalent for a situation of utter madness would be bedlam. But guess what! Bedlam is an alteration of Bethlehem, from Hospital of St. e of an insanse asylum in London. And I trust you know that Bethlehem is in Israel – its name is from bet lehem, “house of bread” (the Arabic name for it, Bayt Lahm, means “house of meat”).
Yup, we owe the name of those nice tropical nuts to Hebrew
Okay, one more. What shall it be? Uh… Yeah, “uh.” Schwa is the vowel sound represented by ? (yes, an upside down e). It’s a relaxed, reduced, neutral vowel sound, such as the a in bedlam. It may look like a German word, but the philologists who first started using it to refer to that sound borrowed it from sheva or shewa, which in Hebrew is a mark put under a letter to indicate there is no vowel sound following it. Its origin is apparently shaw’, which means “emptiness” or “vanity.”
But not just to Hebrew. Also to Gaelic. Macadamia nuts are named after one John Macadam; his name Macadam means “son of Adam.” Mac is Gaelic for “son,” and Adam, as you should know, is the name of the first man in the Bible – in Hebrew it means “human.”