"How'd I do?
I'll tell ya - I got bupkes! I got nothin'!"

Yiddish word that, translated literally, means "peanuts" or "beans".

Commonly used in the US to indicate "nothing", presumably because beans are seen as worthless. Think about it: beans cost peanuts, right?!

Also implied in the phrase "getting bupkes" is a hint of ironic inevitability and the suggestion that the (non-)recipient feels cheated and insulted.

Spelling variations include:

  • bubkes
  • babkes
  • bobkes
  • bupkis
  • bubkis
As Jurph points out, another translation is "goat turds", which are generally accepted to be of even less value than beans or peanuts.
References

http://www.canoe.ca/JamBooksReviewsY/yiddish_gelman.html
http://www.asinine.com/essays/yiddish.html
http://chutzpah.homestead.com/files/dictionary.html

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