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Biblical references for Amish beliefs and practices
adult baptism, Acts 2:38
Jesus Christ as the only foundation, 1 Corinthians 3:11
head coverings, 1 Corinthians 11:3-16
mutual aid, Acts 4:32
peace and serenity, Matthew 6:25-34
photographs, Exodus 20:4
selection of church leaders,Acts 1:24- 26
Amish children learn to work the farm at an early age
(sometimes in ways that aren't all that safe!)
Glossary & common Pennsylvania Dutch terms
(Click the letters above to jump to that section)
Abroth, a part of an Amish wedding when the bishop and ministers meet privately with the bride and groom for a time of admonition and encouragement
affiliation, a collection of districts with similar lifestyle regulations and leaders who often work in cooperation with each other
alleweil, right now
Ammann, Jakob, the founder of the Amish faith and the man for whom its followers were named
Anabaptist, a religious movement based on the opinion that only adults who have made a voluntary, conscious decision to follow Christ should be baptized. Children should not be baptized if they are too young to understand its significance or give their consent. (Early followers had been baptized previously as infants, so they became known as rebaptizers, or Anabaptists.)
Ausbund, the Amish hymnal. First published in 1564, many of its songs were written by martyrs of the faith in the sixteenth century.
the ban, shunning
Beachy Amish, one of the less conservative Amish groups
bishop, the primary spiritual leader of a district
The Budget, a popular Amish newspaper headquartered in Ohio
bundling, "unmarried sleeping together"; may also be called bed courtship or bedding.
Christenpflicht, prayer book
Daadi Haus, a house that is connected to or nearby the main house on an Amish farm. Much like an "in-law suite," the Daadi Haus or Grossdaadi Haus is where the older generation lives.
deacon, a church leader who assists the ministers and the bishop in caring for the faith community and supervising the financial aid ministries of the church
denke, thank you
Die Ernsthafte Christenpflicht, a prayer book used in many Amish households district, a group of Amish who live near each other and worship together, somewhat like a congregation or a parish
Dordrecht Confession of Faith, a document that established unity among Mennonite leaders. Written in 1632, it stresses adult baptism, church discipline, shunning, and separatism.
du bischt, you are
Du bliebst Deitsch, "You must stay Dutch," or "You must honor your heritage," or "You must keep the ways of our people."
du kannscht, you can
Dummkopp, dummy or stupid
English, Englisch, Englischer, non-Amish
fancy, non-Amish (as opposed to plain, which is Amish)
Freindschaft, extended family
frolic, a gathering, often of adult sisters, that allows them to visit with each other while doing chores. Frolics include various activities such as canning peaches, shucking corn, and cleaning house. By rotating houses, they help each other out, get their own work done, and have fun all at the same time.
Gelassenheit, submitting to authority
Gemeinde, a community that strives for Christlikeness
High German, the language used in Amish worship services and spiritual texts
hatt, hard or difficult
Herr Jesu Christ, er fuehrt mich, "Lord Jesus Christ, He leads me."
Hochmut, high-mindedness and pride
Im Namen des Vater, des Sohns, und des Heiligen Geistes, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
Kapp, head covering for Amish females
King James Version, the translation most often used by the Amish when quoting Bible verses in English
kumm or kummet, come
loss uns geh, let's go
Luther Bible, Martin Luther's 1534 German translation, used by the Amish in most worship services and other formal events
Manz, Felix, the first Swiss Anabaptist to be martyred at the hands of Protestants
Martyrs Mirror, an 1100-page book that provides gruesome, detailed etchings and stories of the earliest martyrs of the Christian faith
minister, a church leader who preaches in Sunday services and assists the bishop in serving the congregation in various ways
Nickel Mines, the town (and the school) where on October 2, 2006, a gunman took Amish school students hostage, killed five, severely injured five more, and finally shot and killed himself.
Ordnung, the collection of regulations that govern Amish practices and behavior within a district
patriarchal democracy, style of government in which decisions are made by democratic vote on recommendations of a patriarchal authority figure
Pennsylvania Dutch, a German-based dialect which is the primary language of most Amish, spoken at home, in sermons at church, and among other Amish.
plain, Amish (as opposed to fancy, which is non-Amish)
Protestant Reformation, sixteenth-century Christian movement that led to the formation of Protestantism
publish, announce (as in publish an engagement to an Amish congregation)
Rumspringa, "running around"; used in reference to the period when Amish youth are given more freedom so that they can make an informed decision about being baptized into the Amish church
schnell, quickly or hurry
scholar, a student in an Amish school
settlement, a cluster of Amish living in a common geographical area
Simons, Menno, a Catholic priest who left Catholicism to become an Anabaptist in 1536. His followers eventually became known as the Mennonites.
Sitzschtupp, living room
Streng Meidung, strict shunning
Swartzentruber, one of the more conservative Amish groups
Uneheliche Beischloft, "unmarried sleeping together"; may also be called bundling, bed courtship, or bedding.
was denkscht, "What do you think?"
Wisconsin v. Yoder, a case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972. It determined once and for all that Amish schools were to be allowed and that forcing Amish children to attend any school past the eighth grade was a violation of their religious freedom.
Wundschmatze, pain in an old wound
Wunner, prodigy; miracle
Youngie, young people in an Amish community
Zeugnis, a letter of good standing from a church
An Amish casket
Common Amish idioms
Idiom: "The cookies are all but the milk is yet."
Translation: "The cookies are all gone but some milk is left."
Idiom: "I batch myself."
Translation: "I'm a bachelor."
Idiom: "Who daddied him?"
Translation: "Who is his father?"
Idiom: "I've got it so in my neck."
Translation: "My neck hurts."
Idiom: "I must change around."
Translation: "I need to change my clothes."
Idiom: "Will it give rain?" "Will it make rain?"
Translation: "Is it going to rain?"
Idiom: "I'll meet you go."
Translation: "I'll see you off ."
Idiom: "She is wonderful poor."
Translation: "She is extremely poor."
Idiom: "Don't splutter so."
Translation: "Don't talk so fast."
Idiom: "Outen the light." "Make out the light."
Translation: "Turn out the light"
Idiom: "How long is your off?"
Translation: "How long is your vacation?"
Idiom: "Do you mind that day?"
Translation: "Do you remember that day?"
Idiom: "You liked it still."
Translation: "You used to like it."
Mindy and her husband John, trying out an Amish buggy
Helpful resources for more information
Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center
5798 County Road 77
PO Box 324
Berlin OH 44610-0324
Casselman River Area Historians
PO Box 591
Grantsville MD 21536
Conservative Mennonite Conference Historical Committee
4283 Avery Road
Hilliard OH 43026
420 Weaver Road
Millersburg PA 17061
PO Box 85
Mt. Hope OH 44660
Illinois Amish Interpretive Center
111 South Locust Street
Arcola IL 61910
(217) 268-3599 or 1-888-45AMISH
Illinois Mennonite Historical and Genealogical Society
Illinois Mennonite Heritage Center
675 State Route 116
Metamora IL 61548-7732
Kidron Community Historical Society
Kidron-Sonnenberg Heritage Center
13153 Emerson Road
PO Box 234
Kidron OH 44636
Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
2215 Millstream Road
Lancaster PA 17602
Masthof Press and Bookstore
219 Mill Road
Morgantown PA 19543
510 S. Van Buren Street
Shipshewana IN 46565-0701
Mennonite Heritage Museum
200 North Poplar
PO Box 231
Goessel KS 67053
Mennonite Historical Library
1700 South Main Street
Goshen IN 46526
(574) 535-7000 or 1-800-348-7422
Mennonite Historical Society of Iowa and Archives
PO Box 576
Kalona IA 52247
(319) 656-3271 or (319) 656 3732
Mifflin County Mennonite Historical Society
PO Box 5603
Belleville PA 17004
Ohio Amish Library Inc.
4292 State Route 39
Millersburg OH 44654
People's Place Quilt Museum
3510 Old Philadelphia Pike
PO Box 419
Intercourse PA 17534-0419
(717) 768-7171 or (800)-828-8218
Pequea Bruderschaft Library
PO Box 25
Gordonville PA 17529
Plain Communities Business Exchange
420 Weaver Road
Millersburg PA 17061
Stark County Mennonite and Amish Historical Society
3781 Cranwood Street NW
North Canton OH 44720
(330) 494 0120
Swiss Heritage Society
PO Box 88
Berne IN 46711
Swiss Heritage Village
1200 Swiss Way
Berne IN 46711
PO Box 249
Sugarcreek OH 44681
PO Box 77
Bart PA 17503
Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
One Alpha Drive
Elizabethtown PA 17022
Young Companion, Blackboard Bulletin, and Family Life
Aylmer, Ontario N5H2R3
LaGrange IN 46761