I’ll bet his parents have kvelled frequently about him, being so cute. He certainly looks as cute as a button in this picture. He has a demeanor of a Royal Highness with his McDonald’s paper crown and walking straight as an arrow.
I used the word “kvelled” on purpose for this blog post. In my quest to learn the English language, I try to add as many words to my personal vocabulary as I possibly can. At least one or two new words a day. In order to remember them, I try to use new words in my own sentences. That way they will belong to me if I use them often enough. They have been internalized. At least that’s what I think.
If you have not encountered this word before, let me share with you its meaning. Kvell is an intransitive verb—it can be used without an object. It’s definition is to be extraordinarily pleased, especially to be bursting with pride, as over one’s family. For example: “Critics kvelled over the violinist’s triumphant return to the stage where she made her debut many years ago.”
The word “kvell” is derived from Yiddish “kveln,” meaning “to be delighted,” which, in turn, comes from the Middle High German word “quellen,” meaning “to well, gush, or swell.” Yiddish has been a wellspring of creativity for English, giving us such delightful words as “meister” (“one who is knowledgeable about something”), “maven” (“expert”), and “shtick” (“one’s special activity”), just to name a few.
The date for the appearance of “kvell” in the English language is tricky to pinpoint exactly. The earliest known printed evidence for the word in an English source, is found in a 1952 handbook of Jewish words and expressions, but actual usage evidence before that date remains unseen.
And now you know why a parent would kvell over a regal kiddo like the one in the picture. I know I would. Good Day.