According to etymonline, the noun chutzpah came into English from Yiddish, with the term originally coming from Hebrew. I am wondering if the term has also entered German. I found the term chutzpadik in this German dictionary and Chuzpe in this one. Could I expect a well-educated native German speaker (not of Jewish descent) to understand the terms chutzpah or chutzpadik, or is it an uncommon word?

  • 1
    We learn from this question, that it is not sufficient, to find somewhere a dictionary listing the word, to conclude that it is known. If it is not in the Duden, chances, that it is known are VERY small. By the way I would have assumed from the ending, that it is a substantive analoguous to [Apparatschik].(duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/Apparatschik).
    – guidot
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 9:07
  • 1
    @guidot I have the impression that the Slavic-looking ending -ik is the key feature that makes the word difficult to understand for Germans. If it were written with -ig (different spelling, but the same pronunciation, due to Auslautverhärtung), the word formation would be a lot more transparent.
    – Uwe
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 9:23
  • 5
    The first link points to "internationale-worterbuch.com". "Internationale Worterbuch" is not a well-formed German expression; it should at the very least be "internationales Wörterbuch" with an s at the end (I don't mind substituting o for ö so much). Don't trust a "dictionary" that can't even get its URL right. Commented May 10, 2016 at 14:29
  • 1
    Stephan is right: The site is full of misspellings and seems to have no value at all, as far as I can tell. - Chu(t)zpe is is rather well-known, Chutzpadik does not exist. If you want an adjective or adverb you could say 'mit Chuzpe' or 'ganz schön dreist'.
    – TaW
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 15:59
  • 1
    @Uwe: Standard pronunciation for a word ending in -ig is with a final [ç], not [k], though.
    – chirlu
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 16:40

5 Answers 5


I am a historian and I had never encountered chutzpadik in German sources. I have found the word, however, in a Jüdisches Lexikon published in Berlin in 1927:

Ein chuzef, auch chuzpenik oder chuzpedig = frecher Mensch

and also in the 1903 issue of the Jewish magazine from Berlin Ost und West:

Gotteslästerer ... chuzpedige Lümmel

the latter passage being from a German translation of a Yiddish theatre piece.


I’ve never heard or seen the word chutzpadik in German. Chuzpe, on the other hand, is well-known. It’s not a word that the average German is using in everyday speech, but it occurs occasionally, say, in newspaper articles, sometimes with, sometimes without explanation.

  • 10
    @espertus no, it would not be immediately intuitively accessible for an average well-educated native speaker. Maybe with some thinking or more context. Commented May 9, 2016 at 21:50
  • 11
    I've never heard "Chuzpe" before. Is it maybe used only regional?
    – Iris
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 6:01
  • 4
    @Iris: It appears in newspapers all over Germany at least, as Google News shows: google.com/search?q=chuzpe&tbm=nws
    – chirlu
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 7:12
  • 7
    @chirlu I first intended to write that it's likely to occur in FAZ and Spiegel and unlikely to occur in BILD, but it turned out that even BILD had some hits.
    – Uwe
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 8:15
  • 3
    (Disclaimer: Not a native speaker) In six years in Germany, the only time I've heard Chuzpe is when I used it, assuming that native speakers would understand it. The only ones who did, however, were those who knew American English very well. Commented May 10, 2016 at 11:49

I’m a native speaker and I have never heard that word.

Perhaps it is a bit more common in other regions then the one where I have grown up and live. There are local differences concerning the vocabulary of the spoken language. But I don’t think so in this case.

I think I’ve read chuzpe in a magazine once.

But long story short: Chutzpadik is not a common word in German.


Native speaker (Rhineland) here. I know and understand

  • jmd. hat Chuzpe (allgemein gehalten)
  • jmd. hat die Chuzpe, etwas zu tun (auf einen speziellen Fall bezogen)

and I know that other native speakers, at least those of higher education, should understand.

The word "Chutzpadik", as "freche Menschen", is unknown in modern German. Before Shoa, more Yiddish/Hebrew terms were known to everyday Germans than now.


The -dik ending is Yiddish, meaning "having this characteristic" and generally used to make an adjective from a noun.

Chutzpah is something one can have, a noun. Chutzpadik is an adjective meaning "having chutzpah." (Example: That answer was really chutzpadik.)

-dik does not come from Hebrew, and may come from the archaic high German from which Yiddish is also derived. But in any case, it's not modern German.

  • The Yiddish -dik suffix is the transparent equivalent of the modern German suffix -dich, which has exactly the same meaning and almost exactly the same pronunciation. Yiddish is closely related to modern German to the point where regional dialect variations in German pronunciation are in many cases much greater than the differences between Yiddish and standard German. Commented May 12, 2016 at 0:31
  • This is really only very tangentially an answer to the question. The answer is hidden in the final sentence after an elaborate etymological derivation of chutzpadik.
    – Jan
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 22:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.