The Matzav Shmoooze: Hip Speak


dictionaryDear readers,

I find that people in our kehillos are just not careful about the way they speak as perhaps they used to be. Everyone can now just say what they want, how they want.

I hear people use the word ‘dissed’ very often. I don’t think the word can be found in the Webster’s dictionary. I don’t think a ben Torah or any upstanding Yid should use such language. I still cringe hearing the masses use the word ‘cool’ and similar jargon. “Lashon nekia” comes in many different shapes and forms.


D. Hellman


The Matzav Shmoooze is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

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  1. I think you are correct. Thank you for getting me to think about it.

    I think it comes from not respecting language, or more precisely, not appreciating our verbal capabilities. If we would place proper value upon our words, then by “nature”, we would speak in most dignified manner.

  2. I disagree. Language evolves over time from lots of sources. Of course, we should never use anything close to nivel peh, or anything considered inappropriate in content. I don’t see anything wrong with a shortened form of disrespect(ed), though. Just be sure you know the real meaning of something before you use it.

    my dictionary says:
    dis | informal
    verb (also diss) (dissed, diss-ing) [trans.]
    act or speak in a disrespectful way toward : eg., he was expelled for dissing the gym teacher ….

    I don’t see a problem with this slang. Of course, I also don’t see anything more wrong with using the word “cool” … sort of like someone is “in the freezer”. Just a term of expression.

    chaim horowitz

  4. #3 – Rav Chaim the righteous,

    what about proper capitalization? Is writing in all-caps considered higher language or is it a part of b’nei chom culture?

  5. Reb Chaim,

    Um, when in a glass house don’t throw rocks. Go study some of that higher level literature, internalize it, and then lecture us

  6. RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!
    Loshon Nekia does not involve slang, it is about nivul peh. Get a life! go work on yourself and stop finding faults in other people!

  7. Is “dis” a non usable word??
    There aer mnay isidg words thta used to be nivul for the secular public but are now part of the mainstream media…… but “dis”??
    (My Zaydie ah used to whisper to me ” can you give me more of dis….no..not dat.. dis..” all the time when he wanted sometihng he wasn’t allowed to eat and my Bubie turned around for a flash of a second.)

  8. Rav Chaim,

    I think you missed the boat.

    There is nothing wrong with using “Yeshivishe Raid”. In europe it was called Yiddish.

    What is wrong is to try to sound like the goyim. There is nothing wrong with sounding like the “Yeshivish.”

    The point of this letter is not to spend more time reading books. That will merely intensify the problem.

    The point is not to pick up the goyishe slang.

    It bothers me terribly when I hear young yiddishe neshamos saying things like “mybad.” This is the sprang shprach that the cashier in Walmart says when they give you the wrong change. Yidden are not “mybads”, or bad at all. We are holy people who might sometimes make mistakes!

    I believe that this was the letter writers intention.

  9. I don’t know why, but it bothers me when I hear a teenager say “My Bad” when he makes a mistake or misses a basketball shot.It just sounds like the street I guess.

  10. If only dissed and cool where the biggest of our problems – if these are the most egregious examples you can come up with I think your community is doing pretty good.
    I’ll try and stay off your lawn

  11. While the article has a good point, trying to use the Webster’s dictionary as a measuring stick for the validity of a word is not such a good example. As many know, English evolved as a hodge-podge of all kinds of words which were slang, and even obscene at certain points in history, which have found a place in every day use. “Dissed”, which is slang for disrespected, may make the grade to “legitimacy” too.

  12. #7. Comment from anon
    Time June 16, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    See, this is more like it. Petty whining.”

    Yep, it’s starting to sound like an online coffee room. But that’s only on rare occasion. Here, its usually a respectful and meaningful discussion.

    Here, the moderators are impartial, normal people.Clowns don’t “moderate” and delete on this site. They don’t use 50 screen names. they don’t trash their ex on his wedding day, and every other day. They don’t promote dumb and un-halachik behavior. Yes, so the exception does stand out. Other places it’s business as usual

  13. I see everyone is having a good time with this one. But the topic is serious.
    It is sad that we “Am Hanivchar” are so desensitised that we don’t even understand what’s wrong. Words and how we use them identify who we are internally. These “slang” words are not an evolvement of language, they are a devolvement. We are taking HaShem’s gift of words which identify and us as human beings “MEDABER” and picking up the lowest common denominator from the street to communicate with. Next will come the “grunt” language of apes. Who needs language?

    In addition, there is an insidious identification factor happening here. A language identifies the user as part of a nation, group, clan, etc. Remember the merit of Am Yisrael in Mitzraim – “Lo Shinu es Leshonam”
    Where does this “Language” come from? Whether we are aware of it or not, by using these “words” we are making a statement – I belong to the ‘cool’ crowd. I am part of the ‘with it’ bunch. I fit right into the low immoral street where this language is used. I speak their lingo. I’m not part of you ‘old fashioned’ HaShem fearing, Torah studying and living people.
    The power of “Lo Shinu es Leshonam” was immense in keeping us as HaShem’s special nation and it still is. Lets think a moment and not be so quick to give it up.

  14. To #5
    While your criticism of using “all caps” is somewhat amusing, it hardly deals with the substance of the issue……namely, do we expect frum yidden to be articulate and literate in all forms of expression, whether in all caps or not

  15. RAV GIFTER ZATZAL had full command of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE HE WOULD OFTEN speak about the importance of knowing “SFAS HAMIDINAH” (the language of the country you reside in) being able to speak and write grammaticaly correct to express your self clearly

  16. I feel that many people in our community (especially the baalei tshuva) speak english properly without the south brooklyn yeshivash way of speaking. Is that a problem as well ?

  17. There is a time and place for informality.
    The problem with “dis” is that it is a negative word. Those who use that word often come across as being negative about almost everything and everyone.
    On the other hand, “cool” is generally a positive term. Those who see everything as “cool” are usually pleasant to be around.

  18. I don’t think that slang is necessarily an influence from the goyim, rather just the way a language changes and developes. Words like “dissed”, “cool” or even “my bad” are not bad, they are just products of the ever changing English language.
    Now should a true Ben Torah speak in a more proper English?
    I don’t know, but I don’t think it makes sense to look down upon those who do.

  19. The problem with cool is that it represents a certain cultural value. When we say “cool” we usually imply that it is a positive and desirable quality. This is where goyish culture really gets under our skin.

    If you are immune enough to modernity to consider “cool” derogatory, then by all means please use the term!

  20. Mr. Hellman,
    Please give us a list of permissible words that you sanction. We will use only those. After that, please get a life and leave us alone.