One of the less well known words of Yiddish derivation that has been passed down into English, tsuris means aggravation, bother or a hassle of the sort that never truly goes away, that just keeps coming back in new and varied forms carefully designed to make you miserable but that you have no real alternative to dealing with; arthritis is a tsuris.

The word is frequently used to reference the problems in long-term relationships that have become part of the relationship's dynamic, the kind of problems that are comfortable and familiar but annoying as hell.

A person (a boss who drops a pile of work on your desk with thirty minutes left in the day, for instance) can be a tsuris as well, though the word is rarely used that way - in general it's the work (or the act of receiving the work) that's the annoyance, not the person.

The word's Yiddish root is tsores, meaning to become narrow, ie, to make a passage you have no choice but to traverse harder to squeeze through.


"His aching shoulders were a tsuris he wasn't at all in the mood to deal with."

Or, for a more literary example:

"don't we get to be happy, Kathy? At some point down the line, don't we get to relax without some new tsuris to push me yet further from you?" (Jason Robert Brown, The Last Five Years)

and too much time spent on the Upper West Side.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.