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November 11, 2019

Word of the Day: Kibitzer

2 CQ

Word of the Day : January 31, 2017

kibitzer \KIB-it-ser\ noun


: one who looks on and often offers unwanted advice or comment; broadly : one who offers opinions


It wasn't long after they bought their house that Dana and Regan heard from kibitzers in the neighborhood offering tips on design and remodeling.

"'Bill [Clinton] can't help himself from giving advice. He loves the game. He's the great kibitzer." — Roger Stone, quoted in The New York Times, 6 Nov. 2016

Did You Know?

The Yiddish language has given English some particularly piquant terms over the years, and kibitzer (or kibbitzer) is one such term. Kibitzer, from the Yiddish kibitser, came to that language from the German word kiebitzen, meaning "to look on (at cards)." Kiebitzen may or may not be derived from a German word for "lapwing," a type of bird noted for its shrill and raucous cry. (We can speculate that the bird's cry reminded people of the shrill commentary of onlookers at card games.) The word became more popular and widespread after the 1929 play The Kibitzer came out. Although kibitzer usually implies the imparting of unwanted advice, there is a respectable body of evidence for a kibitzer as a person simply making comments.

Aired January 31, 2017

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