Meddling with words

This month's Wired magazine had an article about Google's underlying economic model, which relies on instant auctions to put related advertisements on search results. It used a word I hadn't heard before: "The theory was Google as yenta—matchmaker," said Hal Varian, Google's chief economist.

Varian's definition comes from the character Yente in "Fiddler on the Roof," who was a matchmaker.  But yenta, or yente, is originally a Yiddish word that means "A person, especially a woman, who is meddlesome or gossipy," according to the American Heritage Dictionary and other sources I found.

I found an offhand reference or two while Googling yenta that said the word also took on the matchmaker meaning after the Broadway debut of "Fiddler on the Roof."

Here's the American Heritage etymology: From the "Yiddish yente, back-formation from the woman's name Yente, alteration of Yentl, from Old Italian Gentile, from gentile, meaning amiable, highborn, from Latin gentilis, meaning of the same clan."

As always when it comes to Yiddish, I welcome corrections for any misinterpretation I might have introduced.