Yiddish: Geh feifen ahfen yam


Senior Member
Canada, English

Am I correct in recalling that Geh feifen ahfen yam means literally "Go peddle your fish elsewhere" referring to people trying to sell you something without your interest or consent?

Also, how would this be written in Yiddish?


  • Forero

    Senior Member
    I am not familiar with the saying, and I don't recognize "ahfen", but it seems to be:

    Go whistle ??? sea.

    Sorry my computer doesn't type Yiddish, but:

    giml, tsvey judn
    fey, pasakh tsvey judn, fey, nun
    yud, pasakh alef, mem


    New Member
    There's a popular curse "Gey kakn oyfn yam" (גײ קאַקן אױפֿן ים) which literally means go take a crap on the sea. It could be used in that situation, but emphasizes where the peddler can go as oppose to the actual act of peddling.

    It's possible that you're thinking of a euphemism, dialectical variation, or perhaps something completely different.


    Senior Member
    Welcome to the forum, nurBahnhof.

    I think that's the curse we were looking for. Change קאַקן ("kakn") to פײַפן ("fayfn") and we have a version fit for "mixed company". (I imagine "kakn" changed to "pisn" - cleaner I suppose - and then to "fayfn" through a minor spelling change, and voilà.)


    German (Germany)
    It makes sense. Even as a German speaker with limited Yiddish knowledge I would immediately recognise ahfn and oyfn as variants (German aufm). Pissn isn't really cleaner than kakn but your surmise that fayfn be a euphemism for kakn is intuitively very plausible. In German, geh pfeifen is not really used as a euphemism for geh scheißen but every native speaker would immediately know what is meant.


    You asked how it would be written in Yiddish. גיי פײפן ויפן יאם. I believe the word often pronounced as afn is spelled ויפן in "standard" Yiddish.

    פּייפּן (fayfn) means to whistle (cognate with Engish pipe and fife, two forms of whistles). It is indeed a euphemistic "polite company" version of גיי קאקן ויפן יאם, "go shit in the ocean," "buzz off," "go screw yourself." Perhaps פייפן may also be taken to mean פּישן (pishn), as Forero suggests in his second post, but I think his first suggestion, "Go whistle in the sea" is correct. "Go peddle your fish elsewhere" is an English equivalent, but not a translation. Other equivalents might be "Go fry ice," or as they say in Spanish, "Go fry asparagus."


    New Member
    English - United States
    In Yiddish "feifen" (to whistle) is a euphemism for passing gas. Ahfn or oifn is spelled like this in Yiddish:

    I guess "go fly a kite" or "go play in traffic" would be an equivalent.


    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Oh, the marvels of technology. Very old threads...

    The full saying in Yiddish is 'gey kakn afn yam vestu hobn triflaj' (with the vowels shifting according to the required sub-dialect )


    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    "Triflakh" in transliteration (sorry, my 'j' comes from Spanish and not Yiddish). It's a light mixture made out of eggs and flour that you pour trickling down into a pot of boiling chicken broth (Want the recipe?). It's quite good. Presumably, the consistency will resemble what happens if you go 'kakn afn yam.'
    (Try not to imagine it. Was I disgustingly clear enough?)
    < Previous | Next >