nebbish

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From American Yiddish נעביש(nebish), from נעבעך(nebekh, poor, unfortunate).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

nebbish (plural nebbishes)

  1. One who is fearful and timid, especially in making decisions and plans, in discussions, debates, arguments, and confrontations, and in taking responsibility.
    Actor Rick Moranis often plays a nebbish.
    • 2001, Foster Hirsh, quoting Woody Allen, Love, Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life: The Films of Woody Allen[1]:
      “I don't consider myself a nebbish,” Woody told interviewers early in his career, “but everyone else does.”
    • 2018 March 1, Steven Kurutz, quoting Lisa Schwarzbaum, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like ‘Manhattan’?”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      But as Lisa Schwarzbaum, the former movie critic for Entertainment Weekly, pointed out in an email interview, “‘Manhattan’ was always about a middle-aged man with a high school girlfriend. Back then, ‘Manhattan’ was made by Woody the Lovable Neurotic Nebbish, and now it has been made by Allen the Monster. And it’s the same movie.”

Derived terms[edit]