גוי

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Hebrew[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Possibly related to גְּו ("body"), i.e. an ethnic body. The semantic shift to "member of another nation" had already begun in antiquity, appearing in extrabiblical sources such as the Damascus Document, and is the likely source of analogous terms like Latin gentilis and English gentile.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

Hebrew Wikipedia has an article on:
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גּוֹי (goim (plural indefinite גּוֹיִים \ גּוֹיִם‎, singular construct גּוֹי־, feminine counterpart גּוֹיָה‎)

  1. (Biblical Hebrew) A nation.
    • Genesis 12:2, with translation of the Jewish Publication Society:
      וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וַאֲבָרֶכְךָ וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ וֶהְיֵה בְּרָכָה׃‎‎
      v'e'es'khá l'gói gadól va'avarekh'khá va'agad'lá sh'mékha vehyé b'rakhá.
      wəʾeʿeśəḵā ləḡōy gāḏōl waʾăḇāreḵəḵā waʾăḡaddəlā šəméḵā wehyē bərāḵā.
      And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing.
    • 6th century BCE, Book of Isaiah:
      לא ישא גוי אל גוי חרב ולא ילמדו עוד מלחמה
      Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore.
  2. (Biblical Hebrew) A nation other than Israel.
    • Jeremiah 10:2, with translation of Robert Alter:
      כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֶל־דֶּרֶךְ הַגּוֹיִם אַל־תִּלְמָדוּ וּמֵאֹתוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם אַל־תֵּחָתּוּ כִּי־יֵחַתּוּ הַגּוֹיִם מֵהֵמָּה:‎‎
      Thus said the LORD: The way of the nations do not learn, and from the signs of the heaven be not terrified, for the nations are terrified by them.
  3. (from Late Ancient Hebrew) A (male) member of such a nation; a Gentile/gentile, Goy/goy, non-Jew.
    • c. 30 BCE, “11.14–15”, in Damascus Covenant:
      אל ישבית איש במקום קרוב לגויים בשבת
      A man may not stay in a place close to goyim on Shabbat.
    • 189, “Shabbat 13:10”, in Tosefta:
      אין משכירין כלים לגוי בערב שבת וברביעי ובחמישי מותר
      Tools may not be lent to a goy on Erev Shabbat, Wednesday or Thursday.
    • c. 1180, Maimonides, “Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 11:8”, in Mishneh Torah:
      וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר גּוֹי סְתָם, הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה.‎‎
      And wherever we simply say "goy," this means an idolator.
    • 1563, Joseph Karo, “Orach Chayim 46.4”, in Shulchan Aruch:
      צריך לברך בכל יום שלא עשני גוי שלא עשני עבד שלא עשני אשה
      It is necessary to bless every day: who didn't make me a goy, who didn't make me a slave, who didn't make me a woman.

Descendants[edit]

  • Latin: gentilis (semantic loan)
  • Yiddish: גוי(goy)

See also[edit]


Yiddish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Hebrew גוי‎.

Noun[edit]

גוי (goym, plural גױיִם(goyem), feminine גויה(goye)

  1. Gentile/gentile, non-Jew

Derived terms[edit]