A Celebration of Women Writers

"GLOSSARY." by Mary Antin (1881-1949)
From: The Promised Land by Mary Antin. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1912.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom



a as in man u as in circus
ä " " far u " " mute
e " " met u " " pull
e " " meet ai " " aisle
ë " long e in German Leder oi " " joint
i " in pin ch " " German ach, Scotch loch
i " " file h " " " " " "
o " " not l " " failure
o " " note ñ " " cañon
ö " " German König zh " z in seizure


The abbreviations Germ. (= German), Hebr. (= Hebrew), Russ. (= Russian), and Yid. (= Yiddish) indicate the origin of a word. Most of the names marked Yiddish are such in form only, the roots being for the most part Hebrew.

Prop. n. = proper name.

The endings ke and le of Yiddish proper names (Mashke, Perele) have a diminutive or endearing value, like the German chen (Helenchen)

Double names are given under the first name.

The religious customs described prevail among the Orthodox Jews of European countries. In the United States they have been considerably modified, especially among the Reformed Jews.

Ab (äb), Hebr. The fifth month of the Hebrew calendar. The ninth of Ab is a day of fasting and mourning, in commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

Adonai (ä-do-nai'), Hebr. An apellation of God.

Aleph (ä'-lef), Hebr. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Atonement, Day of (Hebrew, Yom Kippur ). The most solemn of the Hebrew festivals, observed by fasting and an elaborate ceremonial.

Bahur (bä'-hur), Hebr. A young unmarried man, particularly a student of the Talmud. (See Yeshibah bahur.)

Berl (berl), Yid. Prop. n.

Cabala (käb-ä'-lä), Hebr. A system of Hebrew mystic philosophy which flourished in the Middle Ages.

Candle Prayer (Yiddish, licht bentschen ). Prayer pronounced over lighted candles by the women and older girls of the household at the commencement of the Sabbath.

Canopy, wedding (Hebrew huppah ). A portable canopy under which the marriage ceremony is performed, usually outdoors.

Cossaks (kos'-aks), Russ. A name given to certain Russian tribes, formerly distinguished for their freebooting habits, now best known for their position in the army.

Dayyan (dai'-an), Hebr. A judge to whom are submitted civil disputes, as distinguished from purely religious questions, which are decided by the Rav.

Dinke (din'-ke), Yid. Prop. n.

Dvina (dve'-nä), Russ. Name of a river.

Dvornik (dvor'-nik), Russ. An outdoor man; a choreman.

Dvoshe (dvo'-she), Yid. Prop. n.

Earlocks (Hebrew peath ). Two locks of hair allowed to grow long and hang in front of the ears. Among the fanatical Hasidim, a mark of piety.

Eidtkuhnen (eit-koo'-ñen), Germ. Name of a Russo-German frontier town.

Fetchke (fëtch'-ke), Yid. Prop. n.

Fringes, sacred (Hebrew zizit ). Specially prepared fringes fastened to the four corners of the arba kanfot (literally, "four-corners"), a garment worn by all pious males underneath the jacket or frock coat, usually with the fringes showing. The latter play a part in the daily ritual.

Goluth (gol'-ut), Hebr. Banishment; exile.

Good Jew (Yiddish guter id ). Among the Hasidim, a title popularly accorded to more or less learned individuals distinguished for their piety, and credited with supernatural powers of healing, divination, etc. Pilgrimages to some renowned "Good Jew" were often undertaken by the very pious, on occasions of perplexity or trouble, for the purpose of obtaining his advice or help.

Groschen (gro'-shen), Germ. A popular name for various coins of small denomination, especially the half-kopeck.

Gutke (gut'-ke), Yid. Prop. n.

Hannah Hayye (hän'-a hai'-e), Hebr. Prop. n.

Hasid, pl. Hasidim (häs'-id, has-id'-im), Hebr. A numerous sect of Jews distinguished for their enthusiasm in religious observance, a fanatical worship of their rabbis and many superstitious practices.

Haveh Mirel (ha'-ve mirl), Hebr. and Yid. Prop. n.

Hayye Dvoshe (hai'-e dvo'-she), Hebr. and Yid. Prop. n.

Hayyim (hai'-im), Hebr. Prop. n.

Hazzan (häz-an), Hebr. Cantor in a synagogue.

Heder (hë'-der), Hebr. Elementary Hebrew school, usually held at the teacher's residence.

Henne Rösel (he'-ñe rözl), Hebr. Prop. n.

Hirshel (hir'-shl), Yid. Prop. n.

Hode (ho'-de), Yid. Prop. n.

Horn, ram's (Hebrew shofar ). Ritual horn, used in the synagogue during the great festivals.

Hossen (ho'-ssn), Hebr. Bridegroom; prospective bridegroom; betrothed.

Humesh (hu'-mesh), Hebr. The Pentateuch.

Icon (i'-kon), Russ. A representation of Christ or some saint, usually in an elaborate frame, found in every orthodox Russian home.

Itke (it'-ke), Yid. Prop. n.

Jew, Good See under Good.

Kibart (ki-bärt'), Russ. Name of a town.

Kiddush (kid'-ush), Hebr. Benediction pronounced over a cup of wine before the Sabbath evening meal.

Kimanye (ki-mä'-ñe), Russ. Name of a village.

Kimanyer (ki-mä'-ñer), Yid. Belonging to or hailing from the village of Kimanye.

Knupf (knupf), Yid. A sort of turban.

Kopeck (ko'-pek), Russ. A copper coin, the 1/100 part of a ruble, worth about half a cent.

Kopistch (ko'-pistch), Russ. Name of a town.

Kosher (ko'-sher), Hebr. Clean, according to Jewish ritual law; opposed to tref, unclean. Applied chiefly to articles of diet and cooking and eating vessels.

Lamden (läm'-den), Hebr. Scholar; one versed in Hebrew learning.

Law, the (specifically used). The Mosaic Law; the Torah.

Lebe (lë'-be), Yid. Prop. n.

Loaf, Sabbath. See under Sabbath.

Lozhe (lo'-zhe), Yid. Prop. n.

Lubavitch (lu-bäv'-itch), Russ. Name of a town.

Maryashe (mär-yä'-she), Yid. Prop. n.

Mashinke (mä-shin'-ke), Yid. A diminutive of Mashke.

Mashke (mäsh'-ke), Yid. Prop. n.

Mendele (men'-del-e), Yid. Prop. n.

Mezuzah (me-zu'-zä), Hebr. A piece of parchment inscribed with a passage of Scripture, rolled in a case and tacked to the doorpost. The pious touch or kiss this when leaving or entering a house.

Mikweh (mik'-we), Hebr. Ritual bath, constructed and used according to minute directions.

Mirele (mir'-e-le), Yid. Prop. n.

Mishka (mish'-kä), Russ. Prop. n.

Moon, blessing of. Benediction pronounced at the appearance of the new moon.

Moshe (mo'-she), Yid. Prop. n., a form of Moses.

Möshele (mo'-she-le), Yid. Prop. n., diminutive of Moshe.

Mulke (mul'-ke), Yid. Prop. n., diminutive of Mulye.

Mulye (mul'-e), Yid. Prop. n.

Na! (nä), Yid. Here you are! Take it!

Nohem (no'-hem,), Hebr. Prop. n.

Nu, nu! (nu nu), Yid. Well, well.

Oi, weh! (oi vë), Yid. Woe is me!

Oven, sealing of. As no fire is kindled on the Sabbath, the Sabbath dinner is cooked on Friday afternoon and left in the brick oven overnight. The oven is tightly closed with a board or sheet of metal, wet rags being stuffed into the interstices.

Passover (Hebrew pesech. ). The feast of Unleavened Bread. commemorating the escape of the Israelites from Egypt.

Passport, foreign. A special passport required of any Russian subject wishing to go to a foreign country. To avoid the necessit of procuring such a passport, travellers often cross the border by stealth.

Perele (per'-e-le), Yid. Prop. n.

Phylacteries (fi-lak'-ter-is; Hebrew tefillin ). Two small leathern boxes containing parchments inscribed with certain passages of Scripture, worn during morning prayer, one on the forehead and one on the left arm, where they are fastened by means of straps, in a manner carefully prescribed. The wearing of the tefillin is obligatory on all males over thirteen years of age (the age of confirmation).

Pinchus (pin'-chus), Hebr. Prop. n.

Pogrom (po-grom'), Russ. An organized massacre of Jews.

Poll (pol), Yid. A series of steps in the bathing-room, where cupping, etc., is done under a high temperature.

Polota (Po-lo-tä'), Russ. Name of a river.

Polotzk (po'-lotzk), Russ. also spelled Polotsk. A town in the government of Vitebsk, Russia, since early times a stronghold of Jewish orthodoxy. N. B. Polotzk must not be confused with Plotzk (also spelled Plock), the capital of the government of Plotzk, in Russian Poland, about 400 miles southwest of Polotzk.

Praying Shawl (Hebrew, tallit ). A fine white woollen shawl with sacred fringes (zizit ), in the four corners, worn by males after marriage, during certain devotional exercises.

Purim (pu'-rim), Hebr. A feast in commemoration of the deliverance of the Persian Jews, through the intervention of Esther, from the massacre planned by Haman. Masquerading, feasting, exchange of presents, and general license make this celebration the jolliest of the Jewish year.

Questions, the Four. At the Passover Feast, the youngest son (or, in the absence of a son of suitable age, a daughter) asks four questions as to the significance of various symbolic articles used in the ceremonial, in reply to which the family read the story of Exodus.

Rabbi (rab'-i), Hebr. A title accorded to men distinguished for learning and authorized to teach the law. As used in the present work, rabbi is identical with the official title of rav, which see.

Rabbonim (räb-on'-im), Hebr. Plura of rabbi.

Rav (räv), Hebr. The spiritual head of a Jewish community, whose duties include the settlement of ritualistic questions.

Reb' (reb), Yid. An abbreviation of rebbe, used as a title of respect, equivalent to the old-fashioned English "master."

Rebbe (reb'-e), Yid. Colloquial form of rabbi. A Hebrew teacher. Applied usually to teachers of lesser rank; also used as a title for a "Good Jew"; as, the Rebbe of Kopistch.

Rebbetzin (reb'-e-tzin), Yid. Female Hebrew teacher.

Riga (ri'-gä), Russ. Name of a city.

Ruble (ru'-bl), Russ. The monetary unit of Russia. A silver coin (or, more commonly, a paper bill) worth a little over fifty cents.

Sabbath Loaf (Hebrew, hallah ). A wheaten loaf of peculiar shape used in the Sabbath ceremonial.

Sacred Fringes. See under Fringes.

Shadchan (shäd'-chan), Hebr. Professional match-maker; marriage broker.

Shawl, Praying See under Praying.

Shema (shmä), Hebr. The verse recited as the Jewish confession of faith ("Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One"); so called from the initial word. The "Shema" recurs constantly in the daily ritual, and is informally repeated on every occasion of distress, or as a charm to ward off evil influences.

Shohat (sho'-hat), Hebr. Slaughterer of cattle according to ritual law.

Succoth (su'-kot), Hebr. The feast of Tabernacles, celebrated with many symbolic rites, among these being the eating of the festive meals outdoors, in a booth or bower of lattice work covered with evergreens.

Talakno (täl-äk-no'), Russ. Meal made of ground oats, often mixed with other grains or with weeds. An important article of diet among the peasants, generally moistened with cold water and eaten raw.

Talmudists (tal'-mud-ists; from Hebrew talmud ). The compilers of the Talmud (the body of Jewish traditional lore); scholars versed in the teachings of the Talmud.

Tav (täv), Hebr. The last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Torah (to'-rä), Hebr. The Mosaic Law; the book or scroll of the Law; sacred learning.

Trefah (trëf'-a), Hebr. Unclean, according to ritual law; opposed to kosher, clean. Chiefly applied to articles of food and eating and cooking vessels.

Versbolovo (vers-bo-lo'-vä), Russ. Name of a town.

Verst (vyerst), Russ. A measure of length, about two-thirds of an English mile.

Vilna (vil'-nä), Russ. Name of a city.

Vitebsk (vi'-tebsk), Russ. Name of a city.

Vodka (vod'-kä), Russ. A kind of whisky distilled from barley or from potatoes, constantly indulged in by the lower classes in Russia, especially by the peasants.

Wedding Canopy. See under Canopy.

Yachne (Yäch'-ne), Yid. Prop. n.

Yakub (yä-kub'), Russ. Prop. n.

Yankel (yän'-kl), Yid. Prop. n.

Yeshibah (ye-shib'-ä), Hebr. Rabbinical school or seminary.

Bachur, a student in a yeshibah.

Yiddish (yid'-ish), Yid. Judeo-German, the language of the Jews of Eastern Europe. The basis is an archaic form of German, on which are grafted many words of Hebrew origin, and words from the vernacular of the country.

Yochem (yo'-chem), Yid. Prop. n.

Yuchovitch (yu-chov-itch'), Russ. Name of a village.

Zaddik (tzä'-dik), Hebr. A man of piety; a holy man.

Zalmen (zäl'-men), Yid. Prop. n.

Zimbler (tzim'-bler), Yid. A performer on the zimble, an instrument constructed like a wooden tray, with several wires stretched across lengthwise, and played by means of two short rods.

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U . S . A

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Notes on the On-Line Edition:

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom