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“Schmutz” is Officially Kosher for Scrabble

Scrabble mavens, rejoice! Several Yiddish words have just been deemed kosher for play, including “schmutz,” “schtum,” and “tuchus.” (Plus, bonus points for “tuchuses.” As the Good Book says, the only thing better than one tuchus is multiple tuchuses.)

The newly approved words are among 5,000 recent additions to Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players’ Dictionary, which already boasts an extensive Jewish vocabulary. “Various spellings of shadchan (matchmaker), mitzvah (commandment), aliyah (immigration to Israel) and tallis (prayer shawl) are accepted,” reports JTA. “And virtually every word you can think of that starts with a ‘sh’—shlub, shlep, even shmuck—is not only accepted, but can be spelled with or without a ‘c’ in between.”

Ironically, the most obvious Jewish word of all—”Jew”—is no longer a legitimate Scrabble move. It was removed from the third edition of the official dictionary in 1996, after art gallery owner Judith Grad led a vociferous public campaign objecting to its inclusion as verb. (Yep, as in to “Jew someone,” i.e. rip them off. Lovely.)

Interestingly, “goy” isn’t kosher, but “shiksa”—which some regard as derogatory term—is.

Here’s comedian and actor Judy Gold doing her “schtick” introducing “schmutz” on YouTube:

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