“Good Yontifis the Yiddish-English traditionally extended by Ashkenazi Jews before or during a holiday.

To understand the unique development of this phrase, which has been influenced by three languages, we must start in the beginning.

In biblical Hebrew, a holiday is known as a chag. In later years, this term was joined by yom tov, which literally means “good day.” Among Yiddish speaking Jews, this was often contracted into something sounding more like yontif. And when one wanted to wish his fellow a good yom tov, they would say gut yontif, which was often contracted into guchontif.

As Yiddish speakers poured into the US at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries, gut yontif was anglicized into “good yontif.”