Yiddish: אָן אַ שיר (on a shir)

Drink

Senior Member
English - New England, Russian - Moscow
What does the Yiddish expression אָן אַ שיר (on a shir) mean? I have seen it used in a few songs to as an intensifier for love and other things and I imagine it has to mean something more than the literal "without a song".

Examples:

מײַן האַרץ טוט מיר וויי גאָר אָן אַ שיר (mayn harts tut mir vey gor on a shir) - from "Yosl" (words: Samuel Steinberg, music: Nellie Casman)
אַ גליק גאָר אָן אַ שיר (a glik gor on a shir) - "
מײַן מאַן ליבט מיך אָן אַ שיר (mayn man libt mikh on a shir) - "

און איך האָב אים ליב גאָר אָן אַ שיר (un ikh hob im lib gor on a shir) - from "Yo, mayn libe tokhter" by the Barry Sisters
 
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  • origumi

    Senior Member
    N/A
    I believe it means "endless", "infinite". Yiddish שיר is probably from Hebrew שיעור "estimation", so אן א שיר means "that cannot be estimated (because it's so much)". Maybe translation of the (Mishnaic) Hebrew equivalent שאין לו שיעור although originally this one means "that cannot be estimated (for whatever reason, not necessarily due to large quantity)".

    See for example the song Oh Chanukkah, Yiddish/English.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Ok that makes sense. I found the expression in my dictionary now, I just didn't think to look under שיעור.
     
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