By Hugh Rawson
Tough and loud, brash and irreverent, full of humor and chutzpah – he was our city’s quintessential mayor. – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking at the funeral of former Mayor Edward I. Koch, Feb. 4, 2013
Chutzpah, pronounced HUTS-pah or KHOOTS-pah to rhyme with FOOTS-pah — is a wonderfully vibrant word and one of the leading contributions of Yiddish to English. Its explosive sound – you can practically hear the fireworks going off — gives added impact to its meaning: brazen impudence, gall, sheer nerve. The classic example of chutzpah (aside from Mayor Koch) is that of the man who murdered his parents, then asked the court for mercy because he was an orphan.
Chutzpah and its cousins are relatively recent additions to the vocabulary of English-speakers. Read the rest of this entry ?