This is a question for all the wordsmiths out there.

There is a word that is, phonetically, “yifnif”. Can anyone tell me how the word is spelled and what it means?


The only Yifnifs I know are the Mr. and Mrs. Yifnif who frequently turned up in Milt Gross books. Which leads me to believe it might be Yiddish . . .

P.S. Hey Sax, ya wanna go to those Lincoln Center dances with me next week?

Hey Eve -

Yeah, I know about the literature aspect, but there’s an actual word (probably what those characters were based on), most likely Yiddish. I asked someone here at work and he thought it was spelled “yyghkniph”.

Anyone have a Yiddish dictionary?

(I’d love to go to the Lincoln Center next week! I’ll e-mail you)

Well, it’s not in Rosten’s Joy of Yiddish. And the big Yiddish speakers in my office drew a blank when I tried asking 'em.

Eve might have nailed it…could just be a nonsense word that early 20th century Jewish humorists hit on as an amusing name for a minor character.

Then again…that’s what I thought “Missus Yahootie” was, until someone started the “Who’s Yehudi?” thread here, and cleared up that little mystery for me.