Suggested Synonyms and their Uses. A Style Guide (David R. Forman)

Suggested synonyms for entitlement:

1. My brother’s keeper [consider including a footnote guiding the reader to the original story for context].
2. The minimum one expects in a functional society.
3. The right to life [note: Here, meaning not the right to become alive some day, but the right to stay alive once you already are].
4. Clean water.
5. Uncontaminated food.

Example sentence: “A kholerye oyf dir!”


Suggested synonyms for transgender:

1-17. Laverne, Janet, Christine, Reneé, Leslie, Kye, Sylvia, Diego, Gigi, Carmen, Ali, Amanda, Venus, Brandon, Chaz, Freedom.

Example sentence: “A nar vakst on regn.”


Suggested synonyms for fetus:

1. Maggot
2. Tiny Jesus
3. Predictive Toxicology Group’s product stewardship resource.
4. Laverne, Janet, Christine, etc.

Here context is crucial to determine which synonym fits best, and preview by a skilled editor is encouraged.

Use in a sentence: “Gey kakn afn yam.”


Suggested synonyms for evidence-based:

  1. Programs that help people, rather than lighting a pile of cash to watch the pretty colors.

Evidence Picture-blue 1.jpg

  1. Liberal

Example sentence: “At the Nuremburg Trials in 1946, Avrom was denied the right to testify publicly in Yiddish.”


Suggested synonyms for science-based:

1. Diphtheria still kills children.
2. My kid has white spots on his teeth from too much fluoride.
3. While the number of people killed as witches is still a hotly debated historical issue, it is generally agreed that the high period of witch killing in Europe was between 1550 and 1650.
4. Isaac Newton was born in 1643.
5. Intelligent.

Example sentence: “Hindert hayzer zol er hobn, in yeder hoyz a hindert tsimern, in yeder tsimer tsvonsik betn un kadukhes zol im varfn fin eyn bet in der tsveyter.”


Suggested synonyms for diversity:

1. Inclusion
2. Reality check
3. Let us pray that, when the tables inevitably turn, ‘they’ may not treat ‘us’ as ‘we’ have treated ‘them’.
4. Who are ‘they’, exactly? Or as my lover said once, as she gazed into my eyes, “You are a different person than me.”
5. Should we pretend that group membership has no impact, against all

Evidence Picture-blue 1  ?

Example sentence: “A makeh in yenems orem iz nit shver tsu trogen.”


Synonyms for vulnerable:

1. Capitalism’s rejected ones.
2. Girls.
3. Laverne, Janet, Christine, etc.
4. See: diversity.

Example sentence:

“Vu nemt men aza khokhem,
Er zol kenen di shtern tseyln?
Vu nemt men aza dokter,
Er zol kenen mayn harts heyln?”


David R. Forman is a poet and student of the Yiddish language, living in Ithaca, New York.

Inspiration: My inspiration for the poem was twofold: First, the horror of totalitarianism. The totalitarian impulse inevitably leads to proscribing people’s use of language, with the CDC list being a perfect example of that. Second, the status of Yiddish, once a language with over 10 million speakers, and a ubiquitous global presence, now marginalized, diminishing, often regarded only as a source of humor, of homey aphorisms and curses. People can be silenced not only by totalitarianism, but also by scorn, internalized as shame. Yiddish has suffered both.


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