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Posted by Bob on April 05, 2001

In Reply to: Meshuggener posted by R. Berg on April 05, 2001

: : : Can anyone tell me the descriptive word that sounds similar to mashooganar or masugarnah as heard a few times in American movies and what it means and the origin.
: : : Thanks.

: : One entry found for meshuggener.
: :
: : Main Entry: me·shug·gen·er
: : Pronunciation: -'shu-g&-n&r
: : Function: noun
: : Etymology: Yiddish meshugener, from meshuge
: : Date: 1900
: : : a foolish or crazy person

: More from Leo Rosten, "The Joys of Yiddish":

: MESHUGGE: "Meshugge" means crazy . . . A crazy man is a "meshuggener." A crazy woman is a "meshuggeneh." Note: "That's meshugge," but "that's a meshuggeneh idea." Also see MISHEGOSS.

: MISHEGOSS: Literally: insanity, madness. But . . . more often used in a lighter vein to describe not mental disease, but A wacky, irrational, absurd belief; nonsense; hallucinations. "Did you ever hear such a piece of mishegoss?" A state of affairs so silly or unreal that it defies explanation. "No one can figure it out; it's plain mishegoss." . . . A piece of tomfoolery, clowning, "horsing around." . . . A fixation . . .

: These words come from the Hebrew "meshuga" (insane), Rosten says.

I believe everyone who loves language (admittedly a small tribe, but native to these parts) ought to read "The Joys of Yiddish." I don't know if it's still in print, but get yourself a copy by any means, and open it to any page. Leo Rosten wrote a classic reference. Enjoy.