bubkes/bupkis, etc.

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 3 07:13:15 UTC 2010

I spotted something in one of the OED samples that made me think of a
connection worth mentioning.

There is a substantial relationship between Yiddish and Russian criminal
cant--at least, as it existed before the Revolution. There was a
significant Jewish involvement in the 19th century South-Russian
smuggling, black market and money laundering, so some words surely have
gone in both directions. What prompted this observation is a sentence
that can be found under "tsatske":

> 1972    M. Glenny tr. A. Solzhenitsyn August 1914 (1974) viii. 77
> True, she never did anything to cross him, never even put on her
> expensive clothes and her /tsatski/ (diamonds) at home because he
> disapproved of it.

I haven't checked the original text, but, from the context, it seems the
word "tsatski" is in the original Russian. Solzhenitsyn is not exactly
know for his use of Yidishisms. But the meaning here (diamonds) is
drastically different from "tsatska" (overdressed woman, "doll")--but it
is close to the Yiddish word (cute or cutesy things).


On 12/3/2010 1:13 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> [This is a direct reply to Wilson's commentary on Slavic etymology in
> response to my post, so if this sounds like a waste of time, feel free
> to skip it entirely.]
> Wilson, you got everything on the nose, down to the Turkic roots. I
> was sloppy in my description--
> ...

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

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