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See also: jew


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A Jew studying the Torah.

Alternative forms

  • Joo (humorous, informal form)


From Middle English Jew, Giu, Giw, Ju, from Old French juiu, Giu, gyu, from Latin iūdaeus (Judean (i.e. Jew)), from Ancient Greek Ἰουδαῖος (Ioudaîos), from Ἰουδά (Ioudá), Ἰούδας (Ioúdas, Judah, Judas, Jude) + -ιος (-ios, suffix forming adjectives), from Biblical Hebrew יְהוּדָה (y'hudá, male given name, Yehuda; Judah, Judea). Doublet of Yid. Displaced Old English Iūdēisċ.



Jew (plural Jews or (archaic) Jewes)

  1. An adherent of Judaism.
    Both Jews and Muslims refrain from eating pork.
    Synonym: Judaist
    Antonyms: gentile, goy
    Hypernyms: Abrahamist, Judeo-Christian, monotheist
    Hyponyms: halakhist, Orthodox Jew, rabbi
  2. A member or descendant of the Jewish people.
    Many Jews eat bagels.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:Jew
    Antonyms: gentile, goy
    Hypernyms: Hebrew, Israelite
    Hyponyms: Ashkenazi, Jewess, Mizrahi, Romaniote, Sephardi
    • c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene i]:
      Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs
      dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
      the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
      to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means,
      warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer
      as a Christian is?
    • 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “(please specify the chapter number)”, in The Land of Mist (eBook no. 0601351h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, published April 2019:
      The wrongs of a Jew are not lightly forgotten, for the race can both love and hate.
    • 1996 March 1, The Australian Jewish News, Melbourne, page 33, column 1:
      A young Australian Jew engaged on the trip of a lifetime finally arrives in the homeland of his people.
    • 1998, Donald Daniel Leslie, “Chinese Native Sources”, in Jews and Judaism in Traditional China: A Comprehensive Bibliography (Monumenta Serica Monograph Series)‎[1], volume XLIV, Nettetal, Germany: Steyler Verlag, →ISBN, →ISSN, →OCLC, page 42:
      The local gazetteers of Xiangfu district, Kaifeng prefecture, and Henan province⁵ mention a surprisingly large number of Kaifeng Jews and their successes in Chinese society with dates.
  3. (derogatory) A miserly or greedy person; a cheapskate.
    • 2010, Matthew S. Hiley, Hubris Falls, page 111:
      “Jesus, Williams, you're such a Jew,” Jimmy said in an annoyed, high-pitched tone. “Have you ever just paid a check, or do you always make an ass of yourself?”
  4. (naval, slang) A ship's tailor.

Usage notes

  • The Jewish community is often defined as having a common religion, culture, identity, and ethnicity, but individual Jews do not necessarily share all of these; therefore, a person might be a Jew by one standpoint but not by another. Additionally, there are some religious groups that identify themselves as part of Judaism, but that other Jewish groups might not; hence, use of the term Jew often depends on the speaker's opinions. See Who is a Jew?.
  • The noun Jew is not colloquially taken to be a slur, and the overwhelming majority of English-speaking Jews use the noun Jew to identify themselves. That said, it has become offensive for historical reasons to use the word Jew attributively or adjectivally; the adjective Jewish is preferred for this purpose.

Coordinate terms

Derived terms


  • Sranan Tongo: Dyu


Proper noun

Jew (plural Jews)

  1. A surname.


Jew (comparative more Jew, superlative most Jew)

  1. (offensive) Jewish.
    • 1888, Telemachus Thomas Timayenis, The American Jew: An Exposé of His Career, Minerva Publishing Company, page 23:
      Whenever a Jew nose casts its sinister shadow over the register, the hotel-keeper suddenly discovers that his hostelry is full to overflowing, and profoundly, but firmly, regrets his inability to receive any more guests.
    • 2002, T. A. Baran, Galyat, iUniverse, →ISBN, page 121:
      "Started that Jew country on top of everything else, and then all hell broke loose ever since."

Usage notes

  • It has become offensive for historical reasons to use the word Jew attributively or adjectivally; the adjective Jewish is preferred for this purpose.


Jew (third-person singular simple present Jews, present participle Jewing, simple past and past participle Jewed)

  1. (chiefly offensive, transitive) To make (more) Jewish.
    • 1991, E. Sicher, The Jewing of Skylock: Wesker's The Merchant” (MLS 21 (1991), 57–69)
    • 2010 August 31, William N. West, Renaissance Drama 38, Northwestern University Press, →ISBN, page 111:
      Portia's “Jewing” of Shylock has long been noticed by many critics. For an early example see, for example, the anonymous essay “shylock the Jew-ed,” Temple Bar 45 (1875): 65–70. 45. These words have potentially “commercial” etymologies, []
    • 2014 March 15,, “Jewing of South Africa”, in soc.culture.israel[2] (Usenet):
      In both cases, the Jews used Blacks as political
      weapons to wreck healthy White countries.
    • 2014 August 19, Noach Dzmura, Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community, North Atlantic Books, →ISBN, page 48:
      Queering the Jew and Jewing the Queer [by] Ri J. Turner. Editor's Note: Interlaced with personal narrative, Ri Turner's essay contributes to an ongoing discussion within Jewish gender studies concerning the relationship between Jewishness and queerness and factors the term genderqueer into both sides of the equation.
  2. (transitive, intransitive, offensive) To haggle or swindle in order to obtain a better deal (from someone).
    • 1864, Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor:
      They stops you on the sly in the streets, and tells you to call at their house at sitch a hour of the day, and when you goes there they smuggles you quietly into some room by yourselves, and then sets to work Jewing away as hard as they can, prizing up their own things, and downcrying yourn.
    • 2009 August 1, Scott Gann, For a Minute, I Lost Myself: The Past and Present of a Schizophrenic,, →ISBN, page 455:
      I just feel like you are Jewing me out of my money. I never asked you to give me anything the entire time that you were not working. Your mom told me that you got a lot of money from the insurance that Warren gave you.
    • 2013 December 13, Frank Meeink, Jody Roy, Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead: The Frank Meeink Story as Told to Jody M. Roy, Ph.D., Hawthorne Books, →ISBN:
      Then that bastard Keith showed up and did something even worse than Jewing me out of my pay: he blew the living freaking crap out of the one and only stereotype I still had to hold on to. He thanked me for my hard work, []
    • 2020 March 31, Julius Bailey, Racism, Hypocrisy, and Bad Faith: A Moral Challenge to the America I Love, Broadview Press, →ISBN:
      In the neighborhood I grew up in, it was common for haggling over price to include the admonition “stop Jewing me!” Even as children, we would say this. It goes without saying that this was an insensitive term []

Further reading


Middle English

Alternative forms


From Old French juiu, from Latin iūdaeus, from Ancient Greek Ἰουδαῖος (Ioudaîos), from Hebrew יְהוּדִי (y'hudí); Doublet of Judew.



Jew (plural Jewes)

  1. Jew (member of the Jewish people)
  2. Jew (adherent of Judaism)
  3. Israelite (inhabitant of Biblical Israel)


Related terms