The word "boobala" (also spelled "boobela," "bubela" and "bubbeleh")
began as an affectionate diminutive of bubbe (or bube,) Yiddish for
"grandmother." In its original sense, "Bubela" would roughly translate
into English as "Granny."
"The word bubela, which has found its way into common usage in
English, is actually the iminutive form of bube (grandmother), and the
diminutive, halfway in between, would be bubel."
Struggling Writer: Yiddish Grammar
The use of this word has spread beyond its original meaning of
"grandmother," and "bubbeleh" is now often dropped into conversations
as a friendly term for a person of either sex (and any age,) as in the
greeting "Shalom aleichem, bubbeleh," which would be the equivalent of
"Hi, kid" or "Hi, guy," or even "Hi, dude."
Here are a few examples of this versatile word in use:
"So think, bubbeleh, what gets rave reviews from your beloved, your
kids, your PTA, your coworkers?"
Alibi: Go, See, Do!
"I came as soon as I heard, bubbeleh. I've got some chicken soup for
Ithaca College: My Son, the King
"Dorothy wrote two pages and then asked her mother to read them.
'Later, Boobela,' the mother said while she continued dusting the
furniture with a chamois cloth."
DorothyJones.net: About Dorothy
"Oh, hi boobala, I'm glad you're here."
Ranger Station: Scripts
"Bubbeleh" can even be used when addressing an inanimate object:
"Bubbeleh Bounce - toss a ball away with back spin, call out to it
'come back here Bubbeleh' and it will bounce back to you."
Juggling.org: Jewish Juggling Tricks
"Bubbeleh," like many other Yiddish words (such as "yenta,"
"meshugganeh," "schlemiel," and "mensch,") has entered the mainstream
of American English slang, and is now heard in conversation far afield
from its Yiddish roots. I once heard a "redneck" stand-up comedian
from Arkansas use this term as he tweaked the cheek of an audience
My Google search strategy:
"yiddish" + "bubela"
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Live and be well!