Dont hock my chinik

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, March 6, 2009

Dont hock my chinik is one of my favourite Yinglish expressions. I first encountered it in yeshivah where we had a rabbi who would regularly urge us not to hock his chinik about what Rashi said on the Gemara but instead to look at the text of the Talmud itself.

You could also hock someones chinik about buying a new sofa, getting your child into the right school, your opinion of the rabbis sermons or anything else about which one may take an obsessive, and potentially annoying, interest.

The origin of the expression is the Yiddish phrase, hock mir nicht kein chinik, (or tscheynik) which literally means dont bang my tea kettle. (Some say that chinik is a teacup and the phrase refers to those who stir their tea in an irritating manner. Figuratively it came to mean dont get on my nerves or stop giving me a headache. One can readily understand the connection. One of the invaluable Yiddish websites gave a dozen variants of the phrase, but I wont hock your chiniks by mentioning them all. Chinik is a tea kettle in Russian. One can see in it the word chai, meaning tea. This is related to the English cha, as in cup of cha itself a borrowing from the Mandarin for tea.

    Last updated: 12:32pm, March 6 2009