[ muh-shoog-uh-nuh ]
/ məˈʃʊg ə nə /

noun Slang.

a crazy person.



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Also me·shug·ga·na, me·shug·ge·ner [muh-shoog-uh-ner]. /məˈʃʊg ə nər/.

Origin of meshugana

1880–85; <Yiddish meshugener, equivalent to meshugameshuga + epenthetic n + -er-er1

Words nearby meshugana Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does meshugana mean?

Meshugana is Yiddish slang for a person who acts in a crazy or nonsensical way. It can also be used as an adjective to describe such a person, or as a noun meaning nonsense.

Yiddish is a dialect of German based on Hebrew. Some of its words have been borrowed into English as slang terms.

Meshugana is typically used as an insult in a way that is intended to be funny, even if the insult is serious. Meshugana is also spelled meshuggana and meshuggener.

Example: That meshugana almost ran me off the road!

Where does meshugana come from?

The first recorded uses of meshugana come from the 1880s. The word comes from the Yiddish term meshugener, which is based on the adjective meshuga, meaning “crazy” or “nonsensical.”

If used properly according to its Yiddish origin, meshugana should refer to a person, as in That meshugana just asked if I’d like to buy one shoe. However, in common usage, it’s also often used as an adjective, as in He’s meshugana if he thinks that pickles come from bananas. Less commonly, it refers to nonsense, as in Does he expect us to believe that meshugana?

Yiddish is spoken by Jewish people in eastern and central Europe. Jewish immigrants brought it to the United States and other English-speaking countries, and some of its unique terms have entered English unchanged. Words like meshugana are often used for humorous effect, especially since they have a unique sound that is much different than most English words.

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What are some other forms of meshugana?

  • meshuggana (alternate spelling)
  • meshuggener (alternate spelling)
  • meshuga (adjective)

What are some synonyms for meshugana?

What are some words that share a root or word element with meshugana?

What are some words that often get used in discussing meshugana?


How is meshugana used in real life?

Meshugana is usually used in a lighthearted or joking manner, even when genuinely criticizing something. The sound and cadence of the word usually make it come off as a playful insult, rather than a harsh one.



Try using meshugana!

Is meshugana used correctly in the following sentence?

Spare me your crackpot theories, you meshugana!