User’s Guide

Using the on-line Yiddish dictionary is basically quite simple:

  1. Enter the word you want to look up in the input box on the left.
  2. Click the “Search” button.

But of course there are lots of details:


  • Translation from Yiddish
    • This dictionary is designed to translate from Yiddish to English or French. To use it this way, enter a Yiddish word in the search field, and make sure the “from” button underneath the field is selected.
    • Enter the Yiddish word in Hebrew or Latin letters
      • You can use Hebrew letters, if your computer has that capability. Shoshke-Reyzl Yuni’s web site has good beginner’s guides if you would like to add this capability to your computer.
      • You can click on the “▼ א-ב” button to get a chart of the Hebrew letters; clicking on a letter in the chart will add it to the search box.
      • You can use Latin letters, using the “YIVO” transcription system.
  • Translation to Yiddish
    • While the dictionary is not designed to translate from English/French to Yiddish, due to popular demand we have added a facility for searching for words in the English or French definitions.
    • To search by definition, select the “to” button under the search field.
    • The set of definitions to be searched is determined by the “Definitions in” section on the bottom left.
    • Only single words may be searched for, not phrases.
    • If there are any exact matches, a list of Yiddish words whose definitions contain the search term will be given; click on one of those words to see its dictionary entry.

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Output Choices

  • The user interface of the dictionary is available in English, French and Yiddish. Choose your preferred interface language by clicking on one of the links in the upper left.
  • Definitions are available in either English or French. You can select the language you want for definitions by clicking the appropriate box on the lower left.
  • Your most recent language preferences will be retained the next time you log in.
  • If you would like to have the Hebrew characters transliterated, check the box in the lower left hand corner. Be aware that the transliteration is automatically generated, and does not do well with words whose spelling does not reflect their pronunciation; in most such cases a phonetic transcription will appear in square brackets.

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The program will first try to find an exact match for the input. If there is no exact match in the index, it will try to find similar words that match approximately.

  • Exact Matches
    • If there is just one exact match, it will be displayed.
    • The index contains not only the citation forms of words, but also inflected forms like plurals and past participles. For instance, גאַסן is the plural form of גאַס. If גאַסן (or “gasn”) is entered, the program will display the entry for גאַס, preceded by an explanation that גאַסן is a form of גאַס.
    • There may be more than one exact match. This can happen because of homographs, indicated with superscripts, like װערן1,‎ װערן2 and װערן3.
    • Multiple exact matches can also occur because of different grammatical forms. For instance, ברױט is a noun, but it is also in the index as the third person singular present tense form of the verb ברױען.
    • Whenever there are multiple exact matches, the first match is displayed, and a list of alternatives is displayed above it. You can choose one of these alternatives by clicking on it.
    • When the match is exact, a button labeled “Similar Words” is displayed below the definition. This for the situation where even though there is an exact match, it isn’t what you were looking for, because of an issue with spelling. In this case you can request approximate matches by clicking the button.
  • Approximate Matches
    • Approximate matches will be displayed if there are no exact matches, or if you request them by clicking the “Similar Words” button.
    • When the match is approximate, the program does not automatically display an entry.
    • Choose which one of the alternatives you want to see by clicking on it.

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Account Management

  • Every user has a quota for use of the dictionary. Your quota is displayed on the upper right.
  • You can purchase an additional quota beyond the free access.
  • Quotas for English and French definitions are separate, unless you purchase a joint quota. The quota table displays information for the definition language specified in the lower left.
  • When the your quota is used up, an error message will be displayed, with a link leading to a page where additional access may be purchased.
  • To change your password, click on your username to the left of the quota information. (If the username isn't an active link, try refreshing the page.)
  • You can always get help by writing to; the address appears on every page.
  • But remember, this web site has a staff of one, and I’m not always at my desk!

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