Part of speech: noun
Origin: Yiddish, 19th century
A person's buttocks.
Power to endure or to persevere in an activity; staying power.
Examples of Sitzfleisch in a sentence
"There was no intermission in the play, and by the fifth act I was feeling the running time in my sitzfleisch."
"Esmerelda’s grandson is a piano prodigy with the sitzfleisch to practice his instrument for four hours every day."
“Sitzfleisch” is taken from the same word in German, which is based on the Yiddish “zitsfleysh.” In German, it is formed by combining “sitzen” (meaning “to sit”) and “fleisch” (meaning “flesh”).
Did you Know?
While the common Yiddish definition for “sitzfleisch” is “buttocks,” the related definition is more evocative — the power to persevere through an activity all the way to the end. In this definition, the buttocks are not merely the flesh upon which one sits, but rather a measure of the power and endurance to sit for a long time when others might sooner have gotten up and walked away. Unlike the intense physical endurance involved in extended exercise, or the intellectual endurance required to pay attention to long and complex ideas, sitzfleisch is a measure of a person’s imperviousness to boredom. In modern language, the term might be used to describe the power to read a very long book, to watch many episodes of a TV series in one go, or to wait a long time at the DMV, all without becoming exasperated and getting up to do something else.