I've heard in the Hassidic world, if two families decide that one's young fellow should meet the other's young lady, the couple has a brief, chaperoned, meeting, known as a b'shoh (spelling?), to determine if they're remotely compatible; if so, mazel tov, they're engaged. (Correct me if I'm mistaking my facts here.)

Is that a Yiddish word? Related to the Hebrew b'sha'ah, meaning for the time? Hungarian? Other?

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    I think it's pronounced b'show. – Dave Jan 10 '11 at 14:37
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    google.com/… – Dave Jan 10 '11 at 14:38
  • Shalom a fan of fishel Schecter's? – SimchasTorah Jan 10 '11 at 23:23
  • Spelling is בעשוי – SAH May 21 '17 at 4:56

I don't know Hungarian or Polish, but it would seem reasonable to guess that it is a Yiddishized version of the English phrase "to show." The pure Yiddish term for this would be באוויזן (ba'veizen). Maybe the English word is used because "ba'veizen" could have aggressive connotations (as in "proving" something). But this is all pure conjecture.

Anyway, here is Wikipedia's (!) description of the process:

The prospective partners either date each other or in stricter communities they go to a "bashow".1, or sit in. A typical bashow scene is that the young man with his parents goes to see the young woman in her house to see if the prospective couple are compatible. Both sets of parents talk to each other, and then when the setting is more relaxed, they go into another room, leaving the man and woman in the living room to speak among themselves. Some use this opportunity to actually ask each other pertinent questions, while some just want to see if they like each other, relying more on the information they got from the shadchen or from other people. The number of bashows prior to announcing an engagement varies, as some have many bashows while others have as few as one, which is typical among the children of Hassidic Rebbes.

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    My marginally-educated guess is that this is correct. The prefix "ba-" combined with a verb in Yiddish means roughly "around" (i.e. ba- + "shitn," "to pour," => "bashitn," ="to pour around," ~= "to strew"). Chasidic Yiddish speakers are quite willing to combine Yiddish affixes with English words in their everyday speech, and these nonces pretty frequently stick around in the lexicon, so "bashow" for "to show around" does not seem at all a stretch. "Showing around" is, in my understanding, exactly what happens at a bashow. – SAH Sep 13 '16 at 21:25

It is definately not a Yiddish word. As the Chasiddim would not say B'show if it was Yiddish they would say B'shoi or B'shoo. Maybe it is a Roshei Teivos such as בש״א = בשעה אחת or בש״ע = בשמחה עצומה

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  • Why would they say B'shoi?? B'shoo, maybe... – Dave Jan 10 '11 at 23:39
  • well you would agree that definitely not B'show! – Gershon Gold Jan 10 '11 at 23:52
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    That's my main reason for saying that it's adapted from English. The "-ow" sound is foreign to that dialect of Yiddish. I wonder if the term is used anywhere besides the US. – Dave Jan 11 '11 at 5:37

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