Top 31 Slang For Jews – Meaning & Usage

Jewish culture is rich and diverse, with its own unique language and expressions. From Yiddish to Hebrew, the slang used by Jews adds a colorful and humorous touch to everyday conversations. In this listicle, we’ve compiled some of the most popular and interesting slang terms used by the Jewish community. Whether you’re Jewish yourself or simply curious about the language, get ready to expand your vocabulary and gain a deeper appreciation for the linguistic creativity of this vibrant culture.

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1. Yid

This term is sometimes used as a derogatory slang for Jewish people, but it can also be used in a more neutral or even affectionate manner within the Jewish community.

  • For example, someone might say, “My friend is a Yid and he invited me to celebrate Hanukkah with his family.”
  • In a negative context, someone might use the term to insult a Jewish person, saying, “Get out of here, you dirty Yid!”
  • Within the Jewish community, someone might use the term casually, saying, “Hey, fellow Yid, want to grab some bagels?”

2. Heeb

This term is considered offensive and derogatory. It is important to avoid using this term as it perpetuates stereotypes and promotes discrimination.

  • Unfortunately, there are instances where people use this term to insult or belittle Jewish individuals, saying things like, “Go back to your synagogue, you Heeb!”
  • It is crucial to educate others about the harmful nature of this term and promote understanding and respect for all individuals, regardless of their religious background.
  • Instead of using derogatory slurs, it is better to refer to someone by their preferred name or simply as a Jewish person.

3. Kike

This term is highly offensive and considered a racial slur against Jewish individuals. It is crucial to avoid using this term as it perpetuates hate and discrimination.

  • Unfortunately, there are instances where people use this term to insult or demean Jewish individuals, saying things like, “You greedy Kike, always trying to take our money!”
  • It is important to educate others about the harmful nature of this term and promote understanding and respect for all individuals, regardless of their religious background.
  • Instead of using derogatory slurs, it is better to refer to someone by their preferred name or simply as a Jewish person.

4. Jewboy

This term is considered derogatory and offensive. It is crucial to avoid using this term as it perpetuates stereotypes and promotes discrimination.

  • Unfortunately, there are instances where people use this term to insult or belittle Jewish individuals, saying things like, “You Jewboy, go back to your synagogue!”
  • It is important to educate others about the harmful nature of this term and promote understanding and respect for all individuals, regardless of their religious background.
  • Instead of using derogatory slurs, it is better to refer to someone by their preferred name or simply as a Jewish person.

5. Matzo breather

This term is considered offensive and derogatory. It is crucial to avoid using this term as it perpetuates stereotypes and promotes discrimination.

  • Unfortunately, there are instances where people use this term to insult or demean Jewish individuals, saying things like, “You Matzo breather, go back to your synagogue!”
  • It is important to educate others about the harmful nature of this term and promote understanding and respect for all individuals, regardless of their religious background.
  • Instead of using derogatory slurs, it is better to refer to someone by their preferred name or simply as a Jewish person.

6. Shylock

This term is derived from the character Shylock in Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice,” who is portrayed as a greedy Jewish moneylender. It is considered offensive and perpetuates negative stereotypes about Jews.

  • For example, someone might use this term in a derogatory way, saying, “Don’t be such a Shylock, always trying to squeeze money out of people.”
  • In a discussion about anti-Semitism, someone might mention the harmful impact of using terms like “Shylock” to degrade Jews.
  • It is important to note that using this term is highly disrespectful and should be avoided.
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7. Bagel eater

This term refers to the stereotype that Jews have a preference for eating bagels, a traditional Jewish food. While it may seem harmless, it can perpetuate stereotypes about Jewish culture and reinforce other negative assumptions.

  • For instance, someone might jokingly say, “Of course he loves bagels, he’s such a bagel eater.”
  • In a conversation about cultural stereotypes, someone might mention the stereotype of Jews being associated with bagels.
  • It is important to be mindful of using this term, as it can contribute to cultural insensitivity.

8. Menorah jockey

This term refers to someone who celebrates Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days and nights. The term “jockey” implies that the person is skilled or experienced in celebrating Hanukkah.

  • For example, someone might say, “I’m a Menorah jockey, I’ve been celebrating Hanukkah my whole life.”
  • In a discussion about holiday traditions, someone might mention the role of the Menorah in the celebration of Hanukkah.
  • It is important to use this term respectfully and not as a means of mocking or belittling someone’s religious practices.

9. Latke lover

This term refers to someone who enjoys eating latkes, a traditional Jewish potato pancake often eaten during Hanukkah. It is a lighthearted term that celebrates the love for this specific Jewish food.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I’m a latke lover, I can’t get enough of them during Hanukkah.”
  • In a conversation about holiday foods, someone might mention the popularity of latkes among those who celebrate Hanukkah.
  • It is important to use this term in a positive and respectful manner, without perpetuating stereotypes about Jews.

10. Gefilte fish

Gefilte fish is a traditional Jewish dish made from ground fish, typically served as an appetizer. This term refers to the dish itself and is often used in a lighthearted or humorous way.

  • For example, someone might say, “I can’t stand gefilte fish, but my grandma loves it.”
  • In a discussion about Jewish cuisine, someone might mention the unique flavor and texture of gefilte fish.
  • It is important to use this term respectfully and without using it to demean or mock Jewish culture.

11. Matzo ball

A matzo ball is a traditional Jewish dumpling made from matzo meal, eggs, water, and fat. It is commonly served in chicken soup during Passover and other Jewish holidays.

  • For example, “I can’t wait to have matzo ball soup at the Seder dinner.”
  • A person might say, “My grandma makes the best matzo balls. They’re so light and fluffy.”
  • In a discussion about Jewish cuisine, someone might ask, “Do you prefer matzo balls with a soft or firm texture?”

12. Dreidel spinner

A dreidel spinner is a small toy top with four sides, each marked with a Hebrew letter. It is traditionally used in the game of dreidel, which is played during Hanukkah.

  • For instance, “We played dreidel with chocolate gelt during the holiday celebration.”
  • A person might say, “I won three chocolate coins in the dreidel game.”
  • In a discussion about Hanukkah traditions, someone might ask, “Do you have a favorite dreidel design?”

13. Chosen person

“Chosen person” is a slang term used to refer to a Jewish individual. It is based on the belief in Judaism that the Jewish people were chosen by God to fulfill a special role or covenant.

  • For example, “He’s a chosen person, so he follows Jewish customs and traditions.”
  • A person might say, “As a chosen person, I feel a sense of responsibility to my community.”
  • In a discussion about religious beliefs, someone might ask, “What does it mean to be a chosen person?”

14. Tribe member

“Tribe member” is a slang term used to refer to a Jewish community member. It emphasizes the close-knit nature of Jewish communities and the sense of belonging and support within the group.

  • For instance, “As a tribe member, I feel connected to other Jewish individuals.”
  • A person might say, “Being a tribe member means celebrating Jewish holidays together.”
  • In a discussion about Jewish identity, someone might ask, “How do you connect with other tribe members?”

15. Shalom squad

The “Shalom squad” is a slang term used to refer to a group of Jewish friends. It highlights the camaraderie and friendship among Jewish individuals.

  • For example, “We’re heading out with the Shalom squad for a night on the town.”
  • A person might say, “My Shalom squad is always there for me when I need support.”
  • In a discussion about social circles, someone might ask, “How do you form a Shalom squad?”

16. Menorah

A menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum used in the celebration of Hanukkah. It has eight branches, representing the eight days that the oil miraculously burned in the ancient Temple, and a central branch called the shamash, which is used to light the other candles.

  • For example, during Hanukkah, a person might say, “Let’s light the menorah and say the blessings.”
  • In a discussion about Jewish traditions, someone might explain, “The menorah is a symbol of the Jewish faith and the miracle of Hanukkah.”
  • A person might ask, “Do you have a favorite menorah design?”

17. Chosen People

This term refers to the Jewish belief that the Jewish people were chosen by God to fulfill a special role or purpose. It is based on biblical teachings and is a fundamental aspect of Jewish identity and faith.

  • For instance, in a conversation about Judaism, someone might mention, “The concept of the chosen people is central to Jewish theology.”
  • In a discussion about Jewish history, a person might say, “The idea of being the chosen people has shaped the Jewish experience throughout the ages.”
  • A person might ask, “What are some of the responsibilities associated with being the chosen people?”

18. Tribe

In the context of slang for Jews, “tribe” refers to the Jewish community or people. It is a way to refer to Jews collectively, emphasizing a sense of unity and shared identity.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m proud to be part of the tribe.”
  • In a conversation about Jewish culture, someone might mention, “The tribe has a rich history and tradition.”
  • A person might ask, “Are you part of the tribe?”

19. Semite

The term “Semite” refers to a member of a group of peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including Hebrew and Arabic. In the context of slang for Jews, it is sometimes used to refer specifically to Jewish people.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I’m proud of my Semitic heritage.”
  • In a discussion about the origins of languages, someone might mention, “Hebrew is a Semitic language.”
  • A person might ask, “Are all Jews considered Semites?”

20. Yehudi

Yehudi is the Hebrew word for “Jew” and is sometimes used as slang to refer to Jewish people.

  • For example, someone might say, “He’s a proud Yehudi.”
  • In a conversation about Jewish identity, a person might mention, “Being a Yehudi is an important part of who I am.”
  • A person might ask, “What does it mean to be a Yehudi?”

21. Mensch

The term “mensch” is used to describe a person, typically a man, who is kind, honest, and reliable. It is a Yiddish word that has been adopted into English.

  • For example, “He’s such a mensch. He always goes out of his way to help others.”
  • When someone does a selfless act, you might say, “That was a real mensch move.”
  • A person might describe their friend as, “She’s a true mensch. I can always count on her.”

22. Chutzpah

Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that is used to describe someone who has the confidence and audacity to do something bold or outrageous. It can also refer to the ability to speak up or stand up for oneself.

  • For instance, “He had the chutzpah to ask for a raise after only working here for a month.”
  • If someone takes a risk, you might say, “That takes a lot of chutzpah.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t believe she had the chutzpah to call me out in front of everyone.”

23. Bubbe

Bubbe is a Yiddish word that means grandmother. It is often used affectionately to refer to one’s own grandmother or an older woman who is nurturing and caring.

  • For example, “I’m going to visit my bubbe this weekend.”
  • If someone is comforting and loving, you might say, “She’s like a bubbe to everyone in the neighborhood.”
  • A person might say, “My bubbe always makes the best matzo ball soup.”

24. Yenta

Yenta is a Yiddish word that is used to describe a person, typically a woman, who is overly interested in other people’s business and enjoys spreading gossip.

  • For instance, “She’s such a yenta. She always knows everyone’s business.”
  • If someone is always prying into others’ lives, you might say, “Stop being such a yenta.”
  • A person might say, “I try to avoid gossiping and being a yenta.”

25. Shalom

Shalom is a Hebrew word that means peace. It is often used as a greeting or farewell among Jewish people.

  • For example, “Shalom, my friend. How are you today?”
  • If someone wishes peace upon you, you might respond with, “Shalom to you too.”
  • A person might say, “Let’s part ways with a shalom and hope for a peaceful future.”

26. Hebrew

Hebrew is the language spoken by Jewish people. It is the language of the Torah and is used in Jewish religious rituals and prayers.

  • For example, “I am studying Hebrew to better understand my Jewish heritage.”
  • A person might say, “I can read Hebrew, but I don’t understand all the words.”
  • In a discussion about Jewish traditions, someone might ask, “Do you know any Hebrew prayers?”

27. Dreidel

A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top that is traditionally used to play a game during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each side of the dreidel has a Hebrew letter, which stands for a different action in the game.

  • For instance, “During Hanukkah, children play with a dreidel and win chocolate coins.”
  • A person might say, “Let’s gather around and play dreidel to celebrate Hanukkah.”
  • In a discussion about holiday traditions, someone might ask, “Do you know the rules of the dreidel game?”

28. Shalomie

Shalomie is a friendly term used to refer to a Jewish person. It is derived from the Hebrew word “shalom,” which means peace.

  • For example, “My friend David is a shalomie.”
  • A person might say, “Hey shalomie, how’s it going?”
  • In a conversation about Jewish culture, someone might mention, “I love meeting new shalomies and learning about their traditions.”

29. Mitzvah

A mitzvah is a good deed or a commandment in Jewish law. It is an act of kindness or a moral obligation.

  • For instance, “Helping an elderly person cross the street is considered a mitzvah.”
  • A person might say, “I try to do at least one mitzvah every day.”
  • In a discussion about Jewish values, someone might ask, “What are some examples of mitzvot?”

30. Zayde

Zayde is a Yiddish term used to refer to one’s grandfather. It is a term of endearment and respect.

  • For example, “I’m going to visit my Zayde this weekend.”
  • A person might say, “My Zayde used to tell me stories about his childhood.”
  • In a conversation about family, someone might ask, “Do you have any fond memories of your Zayde?”

31. Meshuggeneh

Meshuggeneh is a Yiddish term used to describe someone who is crazy or eccentric. It can be used affectionately or derogatorily, depending on the context.

  • For example, a person might say, “My aunt is a bit meshuggeneh, but we love her anyway.”
  • In a comedic conversation, someone might joke, “I must be meshuggeneh to put up with this nonsense.”
  • However, it’s important to note that using this term in a derogatory manner is offensive and disrespectful.
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