When is a Knish Not A Knish

Doug Harris cats22 at FRONTIERNET.NET
Mon May 12 19:33:11 UTC 2008

I'm reading a fascinating book (Call It Sleep, by Henry Roth)
published in 1934 but set two-plus decades earlier in NYC.
It provides a revealing portrait of Jewish immigrants' early
experiences in what was, for them, a pretty harsh 'new world'.
   The lengthy Forward points to an incident that comes up fairly
early in the book, when a rather precocious 10-year old female
tries to lure a younger boy to "touch [my] knish."
   Aside from a momentary revival in The Vagina Monologues, this
Yiddish term for "down there," another euphemism cited in TVM,
seems to have pretty much been ignored by contributors to Google's
vast storehouse of hit sources.
   Much the same can be said, I'm sure, of many (many!) other
Yiddish terms, particularly such 'taboo' ones as knish, when used
this way (as per YiddishLibrary.com, among others) and more's the
pity, I say.
   And I say all this apropos of absolutely nothing.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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