Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

The Joys of Yiddish

I see the word "kvell," as I did in today's Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, and I think smilingly of Worf's First Adventure by Peter David where young Worf is surprised "kvell" isn't a Klingon word.

Here's today's write-up about "kvell":
kvell \KVEL\
verb: to be extraordinarily proud : rejoice

Example sentence: "Critics kvelled over the violinist’s triumphant return to the stage where she had made her debut many years ago."

We are pleased to inform you that the word “kvell” is derived from Yiddish “kveln,” meaning "to be delighted," which, in turn, comes from the Middle High German word “quellen,” meaning "to well, gush, or swell." Yiddish has been a wellspring of creativity for English, giving us such delightful words as "meister" (“one who is knowledgeable about something”), "maven" (“expert”), and "shtick" (“one’s special activity”), just to name a few. The date for the appearance of "kvell" in the English language is tricky to pinpoint exactly. The earliest known printed evidence for the word in an English source is found in a 1952 handbook of Jewish words and expressions, but actual usage evidence before that date remains unseen.
Tags: books, language

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