A little time ago I read in a commencement speech the following passage:
"Nothing important was over accomplished without chutzpah. Columbus had chutzpah. The signers of the Declaration of Independence had chutzpah."
In a very few minutes I saw in a Dictionary the meaning of this odd word.
chutzpah = unmitigated gall, unacceptable brazen behavior,
Could you explain me this jumbled state of things.
Is this a vernacular English or so?
It also has a meaning of,
Originally Posted by vil
"supreme self-confidence" [M-W], Vil. Such a degree of confidence could, in many situations, to many people, seem to be brazen, impudent, impertinent and the like. And yes, it's quite commonly used.
I think it's worth mentioning that it's a Yiddish word that has migrated into the common vernacular. A more vulgar way to say it is "ballsy." It's true that you can be looked down on for having too much chutzpah, which is why I like the M-W definition quoted by riverkid - "to many people."
Sometimes if you succeed in your brash attempt, you are admired for your strong nerve, but if you fail, you are looked down on for your brazen attitude.
The ultimate example of chutzpah is the man who kills his mother and father in cold blood, and then begs the judge for leniency because he is an orphan.
Words fail me to express my gratitude to "Holly Trinity" Riverkid, BarbD and Quisch.
I have heard that Hillary and Bill Clinton were accused of having chutzpah.
I hope you might understand my embarrassment. This was the reason to seek clarification. Nobody accused s.o for good things.
Thank you for your picturesque explanation. Especially I liked the new for me word "ballsy".
Thrice "tanks" for you all.