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Alternative forms[edit]


From Yiddish גנבֿ(ganef), from Hebrew גנב(ganáv, thief).


ganef (plural ganefs or ganevim)

  1. (slang, derogatory) A thief; a rascal or scoundrel.
    • 1999, Steve Stern, The Wedding Jester, Graywolf Press, page 86:
      The streets swarmed with hucksters, ganefs, and handkerchief girls who solicited in the shadows of buildings draped in black bunting.
    • 2011, Eric Dezenhall, The Devil Himself[1], St. Martin's Press (Thomas Dunne Books), page 12:
      I would love to have a little inside knowledge that my grandfather's friends took down a president, but the reality is an endless procession of desperate little ganefs—and most of them are very small—trying to stay one step ahead of cops in suits from Sy Syms.


  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967