Chutzpah


Chutzpah

Chutzpah (play /ˈhʊtspə/) is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad, but it is generally used negatively. The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew word ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning "insolence", "audacity". The modern English usage of the word has taken on a broader meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use in film, literature, and television. The word has also been able to be interpreted as meaning the amount of spunk or ability that an individual has. In more traditional usage, chutzpah is invariably negative.

Contents

Etymology

In Hebrew, chutzpah is used indignantly, to describe someone who has overstepped the boundaries of accepted behavior. In traditional usage, the word expresses a strong sense of disgust, condemnation and outrage.

Leo Rosten in The Joys of Yiddish defines chutzpah as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts,' presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to." In this sense, chutzpah expresses both strong disapproval and condemnation. In the same work, Rosten also defined the term as "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."

Judge Alex Kozinski and Eugene Volokh in an article entitled Lawsuit Shmawsuit, note the rise in use of Yiddish words in legal opinion. They note that chutzpah has been used 231 times in American legal opinions, 220 of those after 1980.[1]

The cognate of chutzpah in Arabic, ḥaṣāfah (حصافة), does not mean "impudence" or "cheekiness" or anything similar, but rather "sound judgment."[2]

References in popular culture

See also

References

  1. ^ Kozinski, Alex; Eugene Volokh (1993). "Lawsuit Shmawsuit". Yale Law Journal (The Yale Law Journal Company, Inc.) 103 (2): 463. doi:10.2307/797101. JSTOR 797101. http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/yiddish.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 
  2. ^ Wehr, Hans (1994) [1979]. J. Milton Cowan. ed. Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. Urbana, Illinois: Spoken Language Services, Inc.. ISBN 0879500034. 
  3. ^ Wiener, Jon (2005-07-11). "Giving Chutzpah New Meaning". The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050711/wiener. Retrieved 2007-06-24. 

External links


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  • Chutzpah — (xʊtspə) est une forme d audace, en bien ou en mal. Le mot provient de l hébreu ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה), qui signifie insolence , audace et impertinence . Dans l usage moderne, il a pris un éventail plus large de significations. En hébreu, le mot… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • chutzpah — or chutzpa [hoots′pə, khoots′pə; hoots′pä, khoots′pä] n. 〚Yiddish < Heb〛 Informal shameless audacity; impudence; brass * * * chutz·pah also hutz·pah (KHo͝otʹspə, ho͝otʹ ) n. Utter nerve; effrontery: “has the chutzpah to claim a lock on God and… …   Universalium

  • chutzpah — also hutzpah, 1892, from Yiddish khutspe impudence, gall. from Heb. hutspah. The classic definition is that given by Leo Rosten: that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court… …   Etymology dictionary

  • chutzpah — [n] fearlessness arrogance, audacity, backbone*, balls*, boldness, brass, gall, nerve, spine*; concept 633 …   New thesaurus

  • chutzpah — ► NOUN informal ▪ shameless audacity. ORIGIN Yiddish …   English terms dictionary

  • chutzpah — or chutzpa [hoots′pə, khoots′pə; hoots′pä, khoots′pä] n. [Yiddish < Heb] Informal shameless audacity; impudence; brass …   English World dictionary

  • chutzpah — chutzpa chutzpa, chutzpah chutzpah . [Yiddish khutzpa.] aggressive boldness or unmitigated effrontery; gall; as, he had the chutzpah to question my decision. [Also spelled {hutzpa}, and {hutzpah}.] Syn: audacity, audaciousness. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chutzpah — [[t]h ʊtspə[/t]] N UNCOUNT (approval) If you say that someone has chutzpah, you mean that you admire the fact that they are not afraid or embarrassed to do or say things that shock, surprise, or annoy other people. Such was his chutzpah that he… …   English dictionary