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The Gallivanting Spatula

Words Jews use

by
Jeffrey Goldberg & Alana Newhouse
October 12, 2010
(Mark Alan Stamaty)
(Mark Alan Stamaty)

The Gallivanting Spatula is our compendium for words only Jews use. (For a fuller explanation of this feature, see here.) Here you will find a complete list of Gallivanting Spatula entries, updated as new words are introduced. Please email us at [email protected] to suggest new entries.

Appetizing (noun only): “I have to pick up the appetizing for the Men’s Club sukkah event.”

Federation (noun): “Federation’s Peoplehood Committee is commissioning a study on unaffiliated Jews in the Greater Metro region.”

Gall stones (noun): It is a well-known medical fact that non-Jews, while not immune to gall stones, do not discuss gall stones, publicly or privately.

Gastro-man (noun): Courtesy Ed: “My mother (72 years old, Jewish, Brooklyn) and her friends have always referred to the gastroenterologist as the ‘gastro-man.’ I thought this was normal and used it myself until someone asked me if my stomach doctor wore a cape and tights.” To be frank, the more popular locution is “GI guy.”

Livid (adjective): “Irma is livid with the caterer.”

Luncheon (noun): Not “lunch,” which is an ecumenical term. “Join us for the kick-off luncheon of the American Friends of the Weizmann Institute.”

Peoplehood (noun): Mythical state of bliss sought mainly by Jews who are paid by other Jews to think about Jews. Usage: “The Jewish Peoplehood Subcommittee will meet in Room 404, immediately following the plenary.”

Sit-down dinner (noun): See here. Not to be confused with heavy hors d’oeuvres.

The Arabs (noun): “There could be peace if the Arabs would stop teaching hate in their textbooks.” (“Arabs” without the article “the” is used by non-Jews.)

Traipsing (verb): Fatigued gallivanting.

Viennese table (noun): A buffet table of desserts (usually parve.) Unrecognizable to Austrians, or anyone else who has not visited Leonard’s of Great Neck. Here is its use in a sentence: “We were going to do the Viennese table, but our catering manager advised us to skip it and do the chocolate fountain instead.” This is not a sentence we made up. Related phrases include “modified Viennese” and the “mini-Viennese”—neither of which should be confused with “shmorg (noun)”—which itself has absolutely nothing to do with “shmorg” (verb), go wash your mouth out with soap.

Jeffrey Goldberg, is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, a columnist for Bloomberg View, and a Tablet Magazine contributing editor. Alana Newhouse is Tablet Magazine’s editor-in-chief.

Jeffrey Goldberg, is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, a columnist for Bloomberg View, and a Tablet Magazine contributing editor. Alana Newhouse is Tablet Magazine’s editor-in-chief.

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