Local Lingo Primer

One of the most distinctive elements of New York City-speak -- apart from the gruff, in-your-face style epitomized by Robert De Niro in the movie "Taxi Driver" ("You talkin' to me?") and the Long Island and Brooklyn cliché "fuggedabout it"" -- is the preponderance of Yiddish words dropped into conversation by Jews and non-Jews alike. Here's a quick glossary:

chutzpah: guts, daring, audacity

kvetch: complain, gripe

mazel tov: congratulations!

mensch: good person, stand-up guy

meshugeneh: crazy person

oy vey: exclamation of grief or horror

putz: idiot

schlep: drag or haul; to make a tedious journey

schmo: jerk

schmuck: fool

schmear: spread (for instance, cream cheese on a bagel)

schmutz: grime, dirt, the stuff that gets in New York City windows

shvitz: sweat

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.