Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. absolutely nothing; nothing of value, significance, or substance

Etymologies

From Yiddish באָבקעס (bobkes, "(large) beans"), from קאָזעבאָפּקעס (kozebopkes, "goat droppings"), from Proto-Slavic *koza (“goat”), and diminutive of Slavic root боб (bob, "bean"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Google books shows the 1937 book Imperial City by Elmer Rice http://goo.gl/rLTQT
    Wictionary says it's got a Yiddish origin.
    Elmer Rice was from New York City http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_Rice

    checking alternate spellings listed at wictionary.
    update - alternate spellings predate this
    1931 Duke Herring p71 by Maxwell Bodenheim http://goo.gl/mKyZo
    "Hot Bubkis, that would be hot irony steaming from the water closet"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell_Bodenheim

    1930 - google found bubkes in the Kibitzers dictionary by Abe Gross
    http://goo.gl/Y1RMB

    January 18, 2013

  • Ok, found a decent-looking entry at AllExperts:

    The word has many spellings, but the usual one is "bupkis." It is of Yiddish origin and was first used in the English language in 1937.

    Here is the complete entry from "The Oxford English Dictionary" --
    bupkis, n.
    Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈbʌpkᵻs/ , /ˈbʊbkᵻs/ , U.S. /ˈbəpkᵻs/ , /ˈbʊbkᵻs/
    Forms: 19– bobkes, 19– bobkis, 19– bopkes, 19– bopkus, 19– bubkes, 19– bubkess, 19– bubkis, 19– bubkiss, 19– bupkes, 19– bupkis, 19– bupkiss, 19– bupkus.
    Etymology: < Yiddish bobkes nonsense, rubbish, nothing, of uncertain origin.
    N. Amer. slang (orig. in Jewish usage).

    Absolutely nothing, nil.
    1937 E. Rice Imperial City 67 The Wall Street goyim like 'em skinny‥. Do you know what you'll get for dinner?‥ A green pea with some bees'-knees a la bupkis hiding underneath it.
    1942 A. J. Liebling Telephone Booth Indian 60 The best you can get there‥is a chance to work Saturday night at a ruptured saloon for bupkis.
    1974 M. Torgov Good Place to Come From 147 She comes in, I give her twenty off automatically. I'd like to see her get that discount at Eaton's. Bupkes Eaton's'll give her off.
    1987 J. B. Stine Spaceballs xxi. 109 Forget the ring. The ring is bupkis.
    2006 New Yorker 16 Jan. 34/1 We came up with bubkes.

    "The Urban Dictionary," which is not as reliable as "The Oxford English Dictionary," suggests that the Yiddish word originally referred to a kind of bean. The bean was shaped like the "droppings" of goats. Thus, some people say that bupkis means "goat shit."

    - Ted Nesbitt

    January 18, 2013

  • Any theories on the origin?

    January 18, 2013

  • bupkis
    This a derogatory term meaning worthless like goat shit. See MW.
    Would this be useful for the excrement list?

    December 13, 2010

  • Nope! It means bupkis.

    December 13, 2010

  • But it must mean something!

    December 12, 2010

  • Absolutely nothing.

    May 12, 2008