Posted by Miri on November 14, 2002
In Reply to: Ps posted by Word Camel on November 13, 2002
: : : : : : I have to translate from English into Hebrew.
: : : : : : "can you beat that for daftness?"
: : : : : : can anyone help in the meaning of this sentence?
: : : : : : I'll be most grateful to anyone who can help.
: : : : : : Thank you
: : : : : : miri
: : : : : I am guessing here, but I think "daft" means roughly the same as "mishegas" in Yiddish. It means craziness. Yiddish buffs, any other suggestions?
: : : :
: : : : Sorry I meant to say that the entire sentence is a rhetorical question asking whether it is possible to think of anything crazier. The implication is the craziness is so extreme that it isn't possible for it to be any crazier than it already is.
: : : The popular Yiddish adjective (almost adopted into American English) for "crazy" is "meshugge," but that doesn't help, because the questioner is working with Hebrew. "Mishegoss," or "mishegaas," is the noun (Leo Rosten, "The Joys of Yiddish"). "Can you beat that for daftness?" means "Do you know of anything crazier (sillier, more misguided) than that?"
: : Thanks! I didn't know what the adjective was - well I *did* but I couldn't spell it!
: Here is the tortured logic for the Yiddish: I know a lot of people who speak both Yiddish and Hebrew and so I thought it might be useful to use the Yiddish to convey the spirit of the way "daft" is being used in English. "Daft", like "meshugge' as I've heard it used has a slighly informal slangy feel to it which the word "crazy" in English doesn't really convey. "Nuts" might be better, but that's slang again. It was a long shot but worth a try, I thought.
Thank you very much for enlightening me. of course I know the term "Meshigene" because it is used in Hebrew as well. Only that in Hebrew we pronounced that Meshugah - A legitimate Hebrew word. I couldn't find the combination "beat that for daftness" in my slang dictionaries and was afraid to miss the meaning. So with your very kind help I Know, and it makes a prefect sense in the context.