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Yiddish Question #yiddish


loren greenberg
 

Hello,

I have heard the expression "vonce" used by my parents and others from NYC while growing up. I am certain it is
a Yiddish expression altered by English speakers. It was used to refer to an active child. Perhaps a "rascal" or
"shovav" in Hebrew?

Does anyone know what the genesis of this expression is?
Thank you,

Loren Greenberg
Los Angeles, CA

Abelow - Merkine, Lithuania
Golub(ofsky)- Vasilishki, Belarus
Milner - Smiltene, Latvia
Shafir, Schaeffer, Melamed, Agazim, Vinograd -StaroKonstantinov, Ukraine
Volpiansky - Kaunas and Balbieriskis, Lithuania


Ellen Slotoroff Zyroff
 

My recollection is that it means a "louse" (plural "lice").  

On Thursday, October 22, 2020, 02:37:40 PM PDT, loren greenberg <greenberg.loren@...> wrote:


Hello,

I have heard the expression "vonce" used by my parents and others from NYC while growing up. I am certain it is
a Yiddish expression altered by English speakers. It was used to refer to an active child. Perhaps a "rascal" or
"shovav" in Hebrew?

Does anyone know what the genesis of this expression is?
Thank you,

Loren Greenberg
Los Angeles, CA

Abelow - Merkine, Lithuania
Golub(ofsky)- Vasilishki, Belarus
Milner - Smiltene, Latvia
Shafir, Schaeffer, Melamed, Agazim, Vinograd -StaroKonstantinov, Ukraine
Volpiansky - Kaunas and Balbieriskis, Lithuania

--
ZOLOTOROV (Chernigov, Ukraine; Kiev, Ukraine);
SLOTOROFF (Kiev, Ukraine)
CHARKOVSKY or SHARKOVSKY(Ukraine);
LEVINE (Ukraine and Minsk, Belarus);
GLUSKIN (Ukraine)
LIMON (Berestechko, Volynia, Ukraine)
TESLER (Horochiv, Volynia, Ukraine)
ZYRO (Zabolativ, Ukraine) 
TAU (Zalolativ, Ukraine)
PISTERMAN (Ukraine)
ROTH / ROT (Ataki, Bessarabia, Moldova)
BLAUSTEIN (Chernigov, Ukraine or Minsk, Belarus)


Deanna Levinsky
 

In my family a "vonce" was a bedbug but actually applied to a person to mean someone rather sneaky Children received this appellation if the were squirmy, or sneaky but it was more charitable than when applied to an adult
Deanna Levinsky
--
Deanna M. Levinsky, Long Island, NY


Max Heffler
 

Vantz:   https://jel.jewish-languages.org/words/1635 - bedbug

 

My ex-father-in-law used to use it

 

Max Heffler

Houston

 

From: main@... [mailto:main@...] On Behalf Of loren greenberg via groups.jewishgen.org
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2020 4:15 PM
To: main@...
Subject: [JewishGen.org] Yiddish Question #yiddish

 

Hello,

I have heard the expression "vonce" used by my parents and others from NYC while growing up. I am certain it is
a Yiddish expression altered by English speakers. It was used to refer to an active child. Perhaps a "rascal" or
"shovav" in Hebrew?

Does anyone know what the genesis of this expression is?
Thank you,

Loren Greenberg
Los Angeles, CA

Abelow - Merkine, Lithuania
Golub(ofsky)- Vasilishki, Belarus
Milner - Smiltene, Latvia
Shafir, Schaeffer, Melamed, Agazim, Vinograd -StaroKonstantinov, Ukraine
Volpiansky - Kaunas and Balbieriskis, Lithuania


--

Web sites I manage - Personal home page, Greater Houston Jewish Genealogical Society, Woodside Civic Club, Skala, Ukraine KehilalLink, Joniskelis, Lithuania KehilaLink, and pet volunteer project - Yizkor book project: www.texsys.com/websites.html


Laurie Sosna
 

Anyone else remember the episode of M*A*S*H ("38 Across")?
Hawkeye couldn't finish a crossword puzzle because he didn't know the five letter Yiddish word for bedbug that begins with V.

Laurie Sosna
San Francisco, CA


JoAnne Goldberg
 

In the house where I grew up, we had an annual invasion of flying ants that my parents referred to as "voncen" -- same word I guess. Bedbug in German is Wanze.



--
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535
BLOCH, SEGAL, FRIDMAN, KAMINSKY, PLOTNIK/KIN -- LIthuania
GOLDSCHMIDT, HAMMERSCHLAG,HEILBRUNN, REIS(S), EDELMUTH, ROTHSCHILD, SPEI(Y)ER -- Hesse, Germany
COHEN, KAMP, HARFF, FLECK, FRÖHLICH, HAUSMANN,  DANIEL  -- Rhineland, Germany

 


Philip Heilbrunn
 

A "vonce" also pronounced "Vantz" is a bed bug!
Not complimentary
Philip Heilbrunn


ryabinkym@...
 

On Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 05:36 PM, loren greenberg wrote:
"vonce"
It is a word in Yiddish "vantsun" - plural, mean bed bugs and "vontsun" - plural, mean mustache.

Michael Ryabinky


Malka
 

 

Hello Genners,

 

As I recall from my childhood and just double checked with my mother in Israel, the word שוואנץ 

meant  a tail and was not a compliment (he/she is such a schwantz).

Shabbat shalom,

Malka Chosnek, Texas


Albert Stern
 

There was an episode of M*A*S*H called 38 Across that revolved around Hawkeye being unable to finish a crossword. The missing clue was a five letter Yiddish word for bedbug, which they finally - after comic machinations - found out is "vantz."
Here is a link to a MASH fan page about the episode.
https://mash.fandom.com/wiki/38_Across_(TV_series_episode)
It was a long time ago, but I remember it was a funny one.
Albert Stern


Henry Carrey Boston,MA . Carey/Kirzhner/Berestyaner , Belous , Isenberg - Lutsk ; Postolov/Herman/Kolovsky-Zhitomir
 


--


Vants/ Pl. vantsn means bedbug . I have never heard it used pejoratively for an adult , but I am sure it is possible . My father used to call me " kleyne vantsl "  which would be an affectionate term for "scamp" or "rascal" . 
Vonts pl vontsn  or vontse pl. vontses is whisker, one side of a mustache or a mustache ,  vontselekh being animal whiskers. ( Bienfeld dictionary) 

The reason for the confusion on spelling is that in " Tote-Mome loshn" the a is pronounced as an " o" . So , Vonts and vants would be homonyms. I noticed that Jews in London who were not all from Bessarabia/Moldava/Romania where that pronunciation was prevalent still said "Shobbos", "Khole" (Challah )  and "Khosn-Kole" ( Khosn-Kale-bride and groom) . but also the Polish " baygl"
instead of "beigel" . Gey veys! ( who knows why lit. Go, know ) So the writer may have heard the expression 'vonts" from a Bessarabian speaker or from someone who may have picked it up from a Bessarabian . 

As for the theory that the writer actually heard "shvants" which is literally a tail but is vulgarly used to refer to the male organ and disparagingly  used ( shvantz or dim. shventsl )  for a  " stupid bastard" . ( Bienfeld dictionary ) .Interestingly , shvantsevate (vulg.) means "damn stupid" (Bienfeld )

I still go with the theory that the writer actually heard "vants" pronounced as "vonts"  !

Henry H. Carrey