: a foolish or crazy person
“What kind of meshuggener would apply the small plates concept to Jewish comfort food, which is all about abundance and appetite?” — Tracey Macleod, The Independent (United Kingdom), 16 Dec. 2011
“Whoever decided to remake The Producers in 2005 was a meshuggener. There will certainly not be a remake of The Frisco Kid, a film from 1979—[Gene] Wilder plays a rabbi who rides into trouble in the Wild West. Don’t go there!” — David Robson, The Jewish Chronicle Online, 1 Sept. 2016
Did You Know?
From bagel and chutzpah to shtick and yenta, Yiddish has given English many a colorful term over the years. Meshuggener is another example of what happens when English interprets that rich Jewish language. Meshuggener comes from the Yiddish meshugener, which in turn derives from meshuge, an adjective that is synonymous with crazy or foolish. English speakers have used the adjective form, meshuga or meshugge, to mean “foolish” since the late 1800s; we’ve dubbed foolish folk meshuggeners since at least 1900.