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Cousins Mike and Murray’s Yiddish Primer #2: Yutz and Putz

Since I started hosting The Cousins on Mondays and Fridays, the boys have been giving me lessons in Yiddish. Check out below for an example:

So we thought we’d share insight into this wonderful language to the younger Stoolies. Last week, we covered the word “Schmuck.” 

This week, we have a pair of great words: Putz and Yutz. 

Putz is a VERY sharp word to throw at someone. Cousin Mike defined it as follows: "A Putz is vulgar slang for penis, not to be used lightly. More offensive than Schmuck. … A Schmuck might be doing things [he doesn’t know about] and is hurting people, but a Putz doesn’t give a shit.” 


A Yutz, on the other hand, is defined as “a fool; an idiot; a jerk.” It has less of an offensive connotation than Putz, but certainly defines a person you don’t want to be around. 

If you notice, there are a lot of -utz words in Yiddish, and of them all, Putz is the worst. According to the A.P., “those -utz words? They all connote rather foolish people. A ‘putz’ is the least likable of the bunch, at the very least annoying (if ineffectual) and often reprehensible. A ‘klutz’ tends to be more physically clumsy, a ‘yutz’ more socially clumsy.”

According to Cousin Mike, a Putz “gets caught at a massage parlor” and a good example of a Yutz is Keith Olbermann, who is also, apparently, “meshuggeneh” or crazy (a word for another day). 

So now you know the difference between a Schmuck, a Putz, and a Yutz. 

Class dismissed. See you all next week and if you’re interested in learning more Yiddish words, tune into the Cousins on Sirius XM Radio Power 85 every weekday at 9am EST.