Against Nudzhes

On What Not to Be


I have long used a word that I pronounced ‘noodge’ and spelt ‘nudge’ to describe difficult people. I thought it was a New Englandism.

It turns out, however, that it was the Yiddish word ‘Nudzh.’  I knew how how it sounded. I knew what it meant, but I really didn’t know much about it. I had misspelled it more than once in print.  A friend once asked about the word and I gave him a high-handed lecture on how it was a good old fashioned English word.   This should be precisely the sort of thing that I should’ve known to check  — I have always had an interest in etymology and have been a bit of a nudzh myself about it.

Now, however, I feel like a schmuck.  I may have learnt my lesson.