old wives' tale

(redirected from Bubbe meise)
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  • noun

Words related to old wives' tale

a bit of lore passed on by word of mouth

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Today, the term bubbe meise is mostly used to describe an invented story or fantasy.
Pinker borrowed the phrase himself for his introductory essay to the 5th edition of The American Heritage Dictionary published in 2011, where he criticizes what he calls a grammatical bubbe meise, "a rule of usage that everyone obeys because they think everyone else thinks it should be obeyed, but that no one can justify - because the rule does not, in fact, exist." Pinker cites as his most notorious grammatical bubbe meise the ban against split verbs or infinitives.
Bubbe meises are what today might be called "old wives' tales." The late Leo Rosten offered the simplest explanation for the origin of the term in his Joys of Yiddish: Bubbe or babe is an "affectionate name for grandmother." and may se or meise means a tale or story.
Bubbe meises are most frequently associated with fairy tales, according to Howard Schwartz, an English professor at the University of Missoori-St Louis and author of Tree of Souls: The Mythology of "Judaism.
But bubbe meises aren't always so easily dismissed.
"Bubbe Meises - Superstitions of our Jewish Grandmothers," a rabbi's talk for the senior program, will be at 2 p.m.
# 20 * It's an outside favorite, but a Hanukkah classic--the musical Bubbe Meises by Ellen Gould and Holly Gewandeter.
Another example of the assimilated-American-looking-back genre is Bubbe Meises, Bubbe Stories, a one-woman show written and performed by Ellen Gould.