Jewellery schmuck / Joyería schmuck

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

EARLY IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH San Geraldo, before he met my parents, he said, “Oh, let’s just putz today.” “Let’s just what?” I asked in a bit of shock. “Putz. Let’s just putz,” he replied. “Do yourself a favor,” I said, “and don’t say that in front of my mother.”

In San Geraldo’s circles, putz was simply an unproductive activity. Among most of my friends, a putz was a fool or a jerk. However, the word was Yiddish and a slang term for penis. A friend of mine was slapped across the face by her father when she called her sister a putz. She and her sister were in their 20s.

Some time later, San Geraldo said he didn’t want to do something because it was shmucky. Another Yiddish word for penis not to be repeated in front of my mother.

Since Yiddish is primarily a German dialect, I always thought the words came from old German. However, while I was shopping at El Corte Inglés the other day, I saw a sign that made me question that assumption. As I rode the escalator to the ground floor, I saw a trilingual sign that told me I should turn right for “joyería, jewellery, schmuck.” I doubted they were referrring to penises but, out of curiosity, I turned right. All I found was jewelry (American English for jewellery). The schmucks!


AL PRINCIPIO DE MI RELACIÓN con San Geraldo, antes de conocer a mis padres, dijo: “Oh, vamos a ‘putz’ hoy.”“¿Vamos a qué?” Pregunté un poco en estado de shock. “Putz. Vamos a putz”, respondió. “Hazte un favor,” le dije, “y no digas eso delante de mi madre”.

En los círculos de San Geraldo, putz era simplemente una actividad improductiva. Entre la mayoría de mis amigos, un putz era un tonto o un idiota. Sin embargo, la palabra era yiddish y un término de jerga para pene. Una amiga mía recibió una bofetada de su padre cuando llamó a su hermana putz. Ella y su hermana tenían veintitantos años.

En otra ocasión, San Geraldo dijo que no quería hacer algo porque era ‘schmucky.’” Otra palabra yiddish para el pene que no debe repetirse delante de mi madre.

Dado que el yiddish es principalmente un dialecto alemán, siempre pensé que las palabras provenían del alemán antiguo. Sin embargo, mientras estaba comprando en El Corte Inglés el otro día, vi un cartel que me hizo cuestionar esa suposición. Mientras subía por las escaleras mecánicas hasta la planta baja, vi un letrero trilingüe que me decía que debía girar a la derecha para “joyería, jewelry, schmuck”. Dudé que se estuvieran refiriendo a penes pero, por curiosidad, giré a la derecha. Todo lo que encontré fueron joyas. ¡Los schmucks!

• The view from Tynan’s place during Thursday morning’s coffee.
• La vista desde el restaurante de Tynan durante el café del jueves por la mañana.
• Working out on the beach.
• Haciendo ejercicio en la playa.
• They spent most of their time in this pose. I’ll have to try it. It seems to be working well for them.
• Pasaron la mayor parte del tiempo en esta pose. Tendré que intentarlo. Parece que les está funcionando bien.
• San Geraldo at the end of Thursday night’s dinner outside. The temperature had dropped to 62°F/16°C.
• San Geraldo al final de la cena del jueves por la noche al aire libre. La temperatura había bajado a 17°C/62°F.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

30 thoughts on “Jewellery schmuck / Joyería schmuck”

  1. Gotta love ‘words’ in all languages!
    Maybe those two guys were just putting on a ‘leg show’.

    1. Jim:
      I walked by a couple of hours later and they were actually working out. Chests, of course.

  2. My mother used to say when we were wasting time, that we were “futzing” around. I don’t think that has anything to do with penis.

    Did you ever figure out the schmuck sign? Or find a penis store?

    Lastly, SG is making a horror film, right?

    1. Bob:
      I’ve heard futzing used. I think that means fart in old Yiddish! So, you’re mother said you were farting around! I never did find a penis store. Fortunately, I still have one on hand (so to speak). As for SG, when we were walking home and he only had the sweatshirt hood up, I folded the top back so he could see. He said, “I don’t want to wear it like that because it looks stupid.” Ironic?

  3. well, I learned something today about “putz” and “schmuck”.
    and the beach view – HELL YEAH! I’ll take the guy in red.
    man, I would not recognize SG in that outfit!

    1. anne marie:
      San Geraldo is easily recognizable here by those who know him. No one else sits around like that.

    1. Debra:
      I was in my 20s before I knew what those words really meant. I think it was around the time my friend’s father slapped her.

  4. “I doubted they were referring to penises, but out of curiosity, I turned right.” Ha!

  5. Tell S.G. to keep that parka at the ready. We’re due for a mighty Arctic blast come Mon/Tues – with snow in many places. Even if you yourself don’t get the white stuff you’ll pretty certainly be experiencing the shivers.

    1. Raybeard:
      Temps are expected to stay warm here, but we could get some rain. Anyway, San Geraldo is always ready for an artic blast.

  6. Good to know that I have been using the terms putz and schmuck correctly (and often) all these years. 🙂 Can’t say I would have followed the store signage…but, I did get a laugh imagining you telling SG not to use those words around your mother. She would not have been amused.

    Reminds me of a director in my old office whose name was Dick. I used to tell him to stop being one when I was truly annoyed with his stupidity.

    And, please, why don’t those guys just wear a speedo instead of wasting money on baggy swimsuits. They always look like they are wearing bloomers with all that tucked up fabric.

    1. Mary:
      I so agree with you about those ridiculously baggy swimsuits and gym shorts. Even a pair of running shorts would be more comfortable. I don’t get it.

  7. I share SG’s usage of putz, which I picked up from a friend from Michigan. It may perhaps be a north-central US usage. Also schmuck was a noun where I come from, used almost exclusively in the phrase “You schmuck!” – a usage perhaps derived from its original Yiddish meaning. SG looking very dashing there.

    1. wickedhamster:
      We always used the word shmuck to mean jerk or even asshole, never having any idea what it really meant. I was in my 20s before I knew. (We never used the words in front of my parents.)

  8. That picture of SG is awesome! He looks like a killer from an ’80s horror movie.

    Yiddish terms can be tricky, because many of us learn them from references on TV or in movies and we don’t always correctly assume their meaning! I did know putz and schmuck both mean penis, though. I’ve never heard of “schmuck” as a term for jewelry. I took German in high school but I probably didn’t get that far in my vocabulary.

    1. Steve:
      He did look like something out of a horror movie. I had no idea schmuck was German for jewelry. Then again… have you ever referred to the crown jewels?

  9. Looks like SG has plenty of room for more layers under his parka if the temps drop into the 50s! I wonder if there was any 18K schmuck?

    1. Wilma:
      Oh, sadly, there are solid gold schmucks all over the place. With the weight SG has lost, there IS a lot more room under that coat. It will be great for a winter visit to northern Norway.

  10. As a Canadian who has lived in remote or “culturally isolated” areas of this country for most of my life, I have never known any Jewish people well enough (or at all, actually) to ask the meaning of those two Yiddish words. I had the same understanding of them as SG, so thanks for the edification! I’ll stick to using the ole Canadian standards of “dick-head” or “prick” if the situation really calls for it, LOL!

    It’s also been my experience in high-end jewelry or antiques stores that if you have to ask for it, you can’t afford it anyway!

    Hoppy Easter to you, SG, Dudo and Moose!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      There are a lot of Jews who I’m sure don’t know the real meanings of schmuck and putz. I learned late. I’m sure my sister never knew. I actually didn’t look at any of the schmuck; instead I simply putzed around the shop.

  11. In a 1970s Saturday Night Live sketch, a White House painting of Abe Lincoln calls Richard Nixon (Dan Ackroyd) a “dip”. I’ve read that in the script the word was originally “schmuck”,. Unfortunately, the censor knew Yiddish.

    1. Kirk:
      I can believe that about the censors. Killjoys! (Which is probably schmuck in Yiddish, too.)

  12. Mistress Maddie:
    Very misleading. But there are lately hunks on parade along the beach. So, you wouldn’t be disappointed for long.

  13. I didn’t know putz is slang for penis. At one of the newspapers where I worked we called the publisher a putz all the time. I guess it was appropriate because he was a real dick.


    1. Janie:
      It’s Yiddish for penis, so not actually slang. And, yeah, I worked for some putzes (and shmucks) in my time!

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