nebbish

[ neb-ish ]
/ ˈnɛb ɪʃ /

noun Slang.

a pitifully ineffectual, luckless, and timid person.

Nearby words

  1. neatly,
  2. neatnik,
  3. neato,
  4. neb,
  5. neb.,
  6. nebe,
  7. nebelung,
  8. nebiim,
  9. nebn,
  10. nebo

Origin of nebbish

1890–95; < Yiddish nebekh poor, unfortunate, probably < Slavic; compare Czech nebohý poor; spelling with -sh perhaps < Western Yiddish forms of the word

Related formsneb·bish·y, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Word Origin and History for nebbish

nebbish

n.

1905, nebbich, from Yiddish (used as a Yiddish word in American English from 1890s), from a Slavic source akin to Czech neboh "poor, unfortunate," literally "un-endowed," from Proto-Slavic *ne-bogu-, with negative prefix (see un- (1)) + PIE *bhag- "to share out, apportion" (see -phagous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper