Advertisement

Bupkis

  •  
  • Bupkis means absolutely nothing. It comes from the Yiddish bobkes, meaning nonsense or nothing, and it emerged in English during the early 20th century. It began as North American Jewish slang, but it’s now used more broadly, often for humorous effect.1

    The word is sometimes spelled bupkes, bubkiss,and bubkes (and there might be other spellings we’re missing). Dictionaries differ on the matter; for instance, the Oxford English Dictionary lists bupkis, the American Heritage Dictionary lists bupkis as the primary spelling and bupkes as the secondary one,2 and Merriam-Webster lists bubkes as the primary spelling.3 Our Microsoft Word spell check approves of none of them. But we’re going with bupkis because it’s by far the most common spelling on the web and in 21st-century books.

    Examples

    Advertisement

    Since I know exactly bupkis about the science of turf management, I usually stick to non-agronomic topics. [Golf Course Industry Magazine]

    The goal is to make an “all or nothing” case, and more often than not, Kobe received bupkis. [ESPN]

    But it was his ex-wife who, though she may have gotten bupkis from the estate, gave the most priceless Post quote of all. [New York Magazine]

    Like I said, I don’t know bupkis about extra chromosomes or autosomal disorders, but I know this little girl has already put up one heck of a fight. [American Spectator]

    References

    1. Bupkis in the Oxford English Dictionary ^
    2. Bupkis in the American Heritage Dictionary. ^
    3. Bubkes in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. ^

    Advertisement

    Speak Your Mind

    About Grammarist
    Contact | Privacy policy | Home
    © Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist