the schmooze


Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Many teens now communicate with "di tate-mame" (parents) and teachers using one word: "whatever." Lisa Trager says that "boo ya" means "whatever." This word conveys the full range of emotions: sullenness, disgust ("ekl"), exasperation, rage, and "I just don't want to talk about it. And then there's the language of texting. CU L8R, BCNU, Y R U L8? and RLF (real life friend). It's all Greek to some parents.

Parents report that their children give the same answer to every "frage" (question).
This phenomenon, according to Hans Longwinded, a language chiropractor, is called "Adolescent Vocabulary Attrition Syndrome."

Over the years, their "loshn" (languge) has included the following words:

"boobird" - a fan attending a game or other sporting event who is quick to express disapproval of the team he roots for or any of its players by loudly calling "b..." (1986 term)

"diaper drama" - "diaper play"
A theatrical play that focuses on the problems of adults learning to get on successfully with their own parents." (1987)

"Young Fogey" or "Young Fogy"
A young person who is as conventional in his ways as an old fogy. (1985)

"developmental studies" - special training designed to improve study habits and skills in college students and prepare them for college-level instruction. (1984)

"fruit loop" - someone with crazy ideas, a nut. In Yiddish, "meshuge."

"technie" - a student at a technical institute

"tracking" - a game of chicken played by teenagers in subways in which they wait until the very last minute to jump out of the way of a speeding train. (AKA "subway surfing"). (1993)

"glam-rock" - rock'n'roll music in which the performers are dressed and made up to appear as very glamorous. (1983)

"talking date" - a social date set up for 2 people who wish only to enjoy conversation. In Yiddish, we call it "shmuesn" - casual conversation. (1991)

"tweener" - a youngster who is a pre-teenager but no longer a baby. (You see them everywhere in their Benetton sweaters, high-top sneakers and Swatch watches. They're the new arbiters of fashion, and they can make or break a pop star or TV show overnight. (1991)

"dweep" - a person who is looked down upon by others; a nerd or a jerk. In Yiddish, a "shmendrik" is a jeerk or stupid person. Remember "Welcome Back Kotter"?

"mall intercept" - A survey conducted in a shopping mall for determining the opinions and tastes of the shoppers.

"hightops" - sneakers which cover the ankle, especially with padding to protect the anklebone as well as give additional support. See "sneakerization"

"dis" - to treat with disrespect; insult; defame; besmirch

"big boyfriend" - A design of women's fashion in which sweaters, jackts, etc. are intended to be bulky, as if borrowed from a boyfriend whose size is much larger than the woman's size.

"PG-13" - a modification of the symbol PG, to designate the inappropriateness of a motion picture for young people under 13 years of age. (1984)

"chutzpanik" - characterized by chutzpah; shamelessly impudent; galling

"briefcase computer" - a portable computer small enough to fit into a briefcase.

"e-mail fatigue" - mental exhaustion caused by receiving a large number of email messages a day.

"ground zero" - a total mess. Their bedrooms, desk, etc. are "ground zero."

"zitcom" - a TV comedy aimed at teenagers.

"gimme cap" - an adjustable visored cap that often features a corporate logo or slogan.

"phat" - highly attractive

"Dopeler effect' - the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come a you rapidly.

"sneakerization" - the proliferation of choices available for a product or service.

"daisy dukes" - short shorts

"Fly" - cool. Ex. Jonathan's threads are fly."

"Peter Pan syndrome" - the unwillingness of an adult to take on traditional adult behavior, such as by living at homewith one's parents, not marrying, etc.

"couching"/"couching out" - the practice of spending anunusual amount of one's time watching TV or videotapes.

"jock" - a person who enthusiastically pursues some activity or subject. Also, "an athletic man." (1986)

"cartoon ghetto" - television programming devoted to cartoon shows for children, as Saturday morning programming. Many of these programs feature characters based on toys and serve as marketing tools for toy makers.

"anorexia athletica" - an abnormal lack or loss of appetite ("apetit") among young women, associated with excessive athletic activity which results in amenorrhea and endoctrine gland dysfunction.

"affluenza" - a general feeling ofguilt, boredom, and listlessness among "raykh" (wealthy) people and their children because they have nothing to strive for.

"flipping out" - named after a term for Yeshiva students who return from "yizroel" (Israel) significantly more Orthodox and, as a result, reject their parents' values and lifestyle.

"ego wall" - a wall upon which a person has hung their degrees, certificates, and awards, as well as photographs in which they appear with "barimt" (famous) people.

"password fatigue"
n. Mental exhaustion and frustration caused by having to remember a large number of passwords. Write them all down, or use the same one, and you risk becoming the latest victim of identity theft. Use a different one for every website and you're likely to forget them.

What's up? In Yiddish, we say, "vos iz nu?"

"comfort food"
Jewish adults define "comfort food" to be foods that have a nostalgic element to either an individual or a specific culture.
They include, chicken soup, latkes, matzo brei, kishka, and cholent (Jewish stew). Sharon Duke Estroff ("Can I Have a Cell Phone for Hanukkah?, 2007) wrote that her father jokes that when twenty-first century kids grow up, their definition of comfort food will be anything eaten out of a paper bag in the backseat of a mini-van..."In fact, studies show one in three toys received by an American child is delivered via a drive- thru window." (Think "Happy Meals.")
Marjorie Wolfe's favorite haiku about teenagers:
Today I am a man. Tomorrow I return to the seventh grade.
Source: "Haikus for Jews" by David M. Bader


Search for Stories Beginning with the Letter
N O P Q R S T U V W   Y Z
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

Yiddish Stuff
Jewish Humor
Schmooze News
More Majorie Wolfe
Jewish Stories
All Things Jewish
Jewish Communities of the World
Site Designed and Maintained by
Haruth Communications