Add Spice to Your Vocabulary

Yiddish. I know one Yiddish word — kvetch. I wrote about in back on February 2007. In my recent reading, I came across another Yiddish word that is just as delightful to say as kvetch. That word is kvell.

Kvell is pronounced just like it looks — but say the ‘K’ really quickly (like a grace note in music). Kvell is a verb that means to be extraordinarily pleased, to be bursting with pride.

If I were a good cook, I might be kvelled when I made an especially scrumptious dessert. (But since I’m not a good cook, I won’t be able to use this word in that context . . .)

An artist might be kavelled after painting a masterpiece. A musician, singer, writer, quilter, or graphic artist might be kvelled with something they have produced.

My favorite way to use this word is in describing how I feel about my family. Doesn’t every mother or grandmother kvell as she watches her child in a school performance or in a soccer game scoring the winning goal? At times, Moms feel so much kvell over their family that they almost burst their buttons off their britches!

When people come to my office and remark about the cute picture of my grandson, I can’t help but kvel about him! He’s so adorable.

On the one hand you have kvell. On the other you have kvetch (to continually complain and whine). They are almost opposite from each other in meaning.  Isn’t it interesting that the words sound similar to their meanings? Kvell is sweet on the tongue, soothing to say. Kvetch is harsh sounding, not pleasing to the ear.

If you want to add a little spice to your vocabulary, use these Yiddish words. (I hope you have more kvell than kvetching!)

Posted in New Words. Comments Off on Add Spice to Your Vocabulary
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