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Borrowed from Yiddish פֿאַרקלעמט (farklemt, depressed, distraught; choked up), cognate to German verklemmt (inhibited; hemmed in, squeezed).[1]



verklempt (comparative more verklempt, superlative most verklempt)

  1. (US, colloquial) Overcome with emotion, choked up.
    • 1994 July 25, “Strictly Personals”, in Kurt Andersen, editor, New York, volume 27, number 29, New York, N.Y.: K-III Magazine Corporation, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 101, column 4:
      Ferklempt Without You—Very pretty, sexy, fun, active, Jewish, 35, ad exec seeks handsome, funny guy for love and happiness. It'll be like buttah!
    • 2006, Jeff Jacobson, “Everything Unfettered and Free”, in So I Go Now: Following after the Jesus of Our Day, [Victoria, B.C.]: Trafford Publishing, →ISBN, part 6 (We are Not the Author):
      I've grown very tired of everyone saying freedom isn't free. The reason is, well, it's because I don't know where it came from and quite frankly, I think that some guy named Sal could be responsible, like maybe he started the whole thing after one too many beers at a picnic a few years back and all of a sudden it's become our unofficial national freedom slogan and it's in our songs and on our bumper stickers and tee shirts and it causes us all to get a little verklempt, like we're supposed to somehow get it if we say it.
    • 2006, J. Lee Kline, chapter 1, in Bramble Days: On the Road of Life, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, page 15:
      Aunt Tilly had told her of our tradition, and it made me split between farklempt, and being overwhelmed with delight.
    • 2009, Ray Didinger, Glen Macnow, The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Featuring the 100 Greatest Sports Films of All Time, Philadelphia, Pa.: Running Press Book Publishers, →ISBN, page 63, column 1:
      "Hey Dad," says Ray [in the film Field of Dreams]. "You wanna have a catch?" / We're welling up at this point. / "I'd like that," says John, as the music nears crescendo. / Ray picks up his glove, and we're totally verklempt. Searching for Kleenex in the pocket.
    • 2009 January 23, Antonia Zerbisias, “Tricks up her sleeveless gown”, in Toronto Star[1], Toronto, Ont., archived from the original on 30 March 2019:
      Oh like you, I got all farklempt when I watched her [Michelle Obama] in that dazzling one-shouldered gown dancing cheek-to-cheek with President [Barack] Obama.
    • 2011 August, Karen H. Vaughan, chapter 19, in Over Her Dead Body, Victoria, B.C.: FriesenPress, →ISBN, page 90:
      I was silent, perhaps even verklempt. I hugged Gerry and kissed him. We all know how I get when I am the least bit emotional and soon Gerry and I were sliding down the slippery slope toward making out like teenagers, []
    • 2012, Julie Ann Walker, chapter 6, in In Rides Trouble, Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Casablanca, →ISBN; republished in Black Knights Inc. Boxed Set: Volumes 1–3 (Black Knights Inc.; 2), Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2013, →ISBN, page 93:
      "It was wonderful of you to go to such trouble. I want you to know how much it meant to me." / "Stop," she waved her hands in front of her eyes, trying to divert the conversation away from the uncomfortable road it was heading down, "you're making me all faklempt."
  2. (US, colloquial) Flustered, nervous, overwhelmed.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:nervous
    • 2007, Susan G[oldsmith] Wooldridge, Foolsgold: Making Something from Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process, New York, N.Y.: Harmony Books, →ISBN, page 218:
      [] I noticed that Mom could barely hold a fork, write, walk, get up, sit down. She was verklemmt. Vermischt. More Yiddish words that mean what they sound like.
    • 2012, JoAnne Bunyak, chapter 13, in Lizzy’s Bridge, [Bloomington, Ind.]: Xlibris, →ISBN, page 131:
      Hoping to jolt her out of her deep meditation, he sprightly added, "Believe me, Ma, when you get horny, you'll know it. You might be verklempt, but you'll know what to do," he maintained. / "Rayn Wickett," a shocked Lizzy rebounded, "watch your tongue. I'm still your mother, or have you forgotten that?"
    • 2012 November 13, R. J. Feliciano, chapter 26, in Wally’s Christmas Odyssey: A Novel, Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, →ISBN, page 141:
      "Oy, gevalt!" Mu-mu says. "Be a good bubula and get me some seltzer. I'm starting to feel faclempt."

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. ^ verklempt, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2017; verklempt”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.