Monday, February 13, 2006


This is in honor of my cousin who is currently visiting China.

Did you know that the Hebrew word for Chinaware or porcelain, חרסינה - charsina comes from the Hebrew words חרס cheres (earthenware) and סין Sin (China)? Well, maybe you did, but I didn't.

You can read more about it in the Ynet Encylcopedia (in Hebrew). That article also references the origin of the word porcelain (here in English). Maybe not for our younger readers.

And in case you were wondering, the Yiddish phrase "Hak mir nisht ken tshaynik" doesn't have a China connection, depsite how I heard it as a kid ("don't hock me to China.). The literal translation is "Don't knock me a teakettle", which according to Michael Wex's new book Born to Kvetch means ""you don't have to shut up completely, but I'd really appreciate it if you'd stop rattling on about the same damned thing all the time." I first figured that perhaps tshaynik meant tea kettle because it was made of porcelain, but according to this site, it comes from the Polish/Russian word for tea, chai. Chai derives from the same Chinese word for tea that gave us the English word for tea (as well as for most other Western languages.)

For those interested, here's further discussion about tshaynik and China.

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