≡ Menu

Shkoyach is a really anoying term when not used in shul context

“Hey can you pass me the herring?” I pass it and then the guy says “shkoyach, shkoyach” in a fast and mumbling Brooklyn accent. What is the deal with the usage of the word “Shkoyach by people from Brooklyn? I always though of it as a word reserved for accompaniment with dead fish handshakes from men who never look you in the eyes after you get an aliyah or something.

I also feel like its a hocker or macher terminology, almost used in a condescending way- they will say shkoyach about your car or about landing a hot wife. All sorts of things, even when they grab the weekly shul announcement sheet out of your hand as they say let me see that for second, oy shkoyach!

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Ari July 27, 2008, 7:41 AM

    When I visited Boro Park as a kid from out of town, I got a kick out of the Eichler’s Bookstore sales people muttering “shkoyach” after I made a purchase. Like I did a mitzvah, or something. What was I supposed to respond? “Baruch tihiyeah?”

  • quadtec July 27, 2008, 9:19 AM

    I don’t know if you already know, but your site’s listed as an attack site by Google. It’s pretty annoying seeing that warning page every time I visit the site… Is there anything you could do about that?

    • Reepalu July 18, 2016, 3:45 PM


  • jelen July 27, 2008, 9:31 AM

    haha, it’s even funnier and more condescending if you substitute the english! just imagine someone telling you “good job!” after passing the herring or making a purchase…”good job little boy, you can buy a hat! wowie, and with your own money, too!”

  • KissMeI'mShomer July 27, 2008, 1:52 PM

    Shkoyach on the post.
    I always put “shkoyach” in the same category as “yuntiff” under “mangled Yiddish words.”
    Maybe that’s a good post topic – mangled yiddishisms?

  • s(b.) July 27, 2008, 2:56 PM

    I never ran into that, but that’s really obnoxious.

  • Mikeinmidwood July 27, 2008, 3:00 PM

    I guess Shkoyach is a word that is meant to be used instead of thank you in a mean way.

  • Left Brooklyn July 27, 2008, 8:59 PM

    I travel in circles that does not use (or misuse for that matter) mispronounced (or mangled) Hebrew words.

    It is a hoot though, when people who barely understand Hebrew (other than Biblical/siddur Hebrew) misuese the language.

    Hesh, next time you hear them say that, ask them what they mean. Tell them you are not from the area and you don’t understand the local dialect. See what they tell you.

    Chazak u’baruch.

  • Shua July 27, 2008, 9:09 PM

    try answering “b’ruchah ti’h’yi” for females (technically correct). always gets a raised eyebrow (or two).

    growing up in memphis, the shul president used to always give a “big ya-shur kowe-ach” (read real slow-like and think heavy Southern accent) to all the chazzans at the end of davening. still hear it in my head today…

  • Yochanan July 27, 2008, 9:37 PM

    Yasher Koach, not the mumbled shkoyach, means “may you have strength”. I see it as our way of saying “May the force be with you”. Maybe we should sue Yoda for plagiarism.:)

  • Anonymous July 28, 2008, 10:04 AM

    “pass me the herring” sound like shul context to me. In an y event I don’t get you. nothing mean about shkoyach. It is a NICE thing to say.

  • Frum Satire July 28, 2008, 10:55 AM

    Yochanon as always I love your comments, comment more often

  • yeahthatskosher! July 28, 2008, 1:32 PM

    When we were in Yeshiva for the year, we used “oy vey” and “shkoyach” as opposites.

    “Shkoyach” was to congratulate a guy for whatever it is that he did, in or out of the yeshiva.

    “Oy vey” was the opposite, often used to refer to something inappropriate done.

    They were combined when there was reason to congratulate a guy for doing something inappropriate (with a girl perhaps?) — “Oy vey Shkoyach!”

    What a great Yeshiva experience.

  • Avi July 29, 2008, 5:02 PM

    I must be missing something because I don’t see the problem. there are colloquialisms or slang words in every language. Why should hebrew which is the origins of shkoyach be any different? The word is used both as a way of saying ‘Thank you’ and ‘Good job’ depending on the context. Many words in English are the same. An example might be ‘wicked.’ The proper use of wicked is much less used then the slang word ‘wicked’ used by teenagers today. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it is often used in a context of ‘That was wicked!!!’ (awesome). Although my example is one of teenagers slang, and what we are discussing is adults colloquialisms, there really is very little difference. Words evolve over time, and although it may not be ‘proper hebrew’ it’s been accepted. Why shkoyach gets any more flack then any other word that has evolved, is beyond me. Feel free to enlighten me.

  • Rob Nafikleh September 3, 2008, 7:10 PM

    Speaking of using Jewish words in a new way, you may appreciate several newly coined usages of “Shabbat-Shalom” in a movie starring Adam Goldberg (the Hebrew Hammer- circa 2003). I read that Adam agreed to do the movie as soon as he realized he would get to confront a perp. with the phrase “Shabbat Shalom Mother F….r” I think that movie very accurately portrays what a modern orthodox private eye would be like. It was SPOT ON!

  • Frum Satire September 3, 2008, 11:36 PM

    Dude the Hebrew Hammer amazing

  • Dave November 20, 2010, 7:34 PM

    I’m not sure why its used here, but it is.


  • BG May 23, 2012, 7:06 AM

    What does this mean:

    “Brotha vos meint er.

    Shkoich breeder!”

    I received it accidently when ordering cabinets from a Jewish guy and asking him some questions. He had to ask the cabinet maker to email him a picture and the cabinet maker sent this message along with the picture. Well, I was forwarded this message as well as the image of the cabinet and I was wondering if it was a condescension or how to interpret it. It doesn’t seem like all Yiddish to me, but I don’t know Yiddish.



    • Chicago August 14, 2014, 5:11 PM

      Brotha vos meint er looks like ‘bro, what’s he mean?’ and shokoich breeder looks like ‘shkoyach, brothers’

  • Rockin Rabbi April 9, 2018, 7:08 AM

    I’m teaching my Welsh blues enthusiasts at my gigs to shout Shekoach at the end of a song instead of shouting Hallaluyah ,or Get down …think it sounds better .lol

Leave a Comment