Host a game night for friends and you might learn who is the kibitzer in your group … gulp. (We hope it’s not you.)

“A Waterloo” by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, circa 1906, via Wikimedia Commons

noun, informal.

A spectator at a card game who looks at the players’ cards over their shoulders.

One who gives unsolicited, unappreciated advice and opinions.

A person who jokes, chitchats, or makes wisecracks, especially while others are trying to work or to discuss something serious.

Origin of kibitzer


From the Yiddish, dating back to 1925-30

Synonyms: meddler, busybody, snoop.

I don’t mind admitting that a good kibitzer has 20-20 hindsight.” – Alfked Sheinwold

“I’m a kibitzer with a broad portfolio.” – David Axelrod

“Victory has 1,000 fathers. Defeat has 1,000 kibitzers.” – Jeff Greenfield


Leave a comment 5 Comments

  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    When I lived in the Big Apple ( aka New York City ) everyone spoke some Yiddish , it was so all pervasive. Kibbitzer was commonly used more as meaning a jokester who played around while others worked. It wasn’t really derogatory. My Yiddish came in handy when I lived in a Kibbutz in Israel.It is partly Hebrew and partly German. Thanks for sharing a fun word, MaryJane

  2. Krista says:

    My brother is definitely the kibitzer in our family, with my husband coming in close second. Those two are always cracking jokes and would totally cheat at a game if they could get away with it! Now I have the perfect word to describe them at our next get together. Thanks for the new word!

  3. Karlyne says:

    When my uncles and parents played pinochle, no kibbitzing was allowed!

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