The Muffti is pleased to have the opportunity to teach stubborn know-it-all CK something. After confessing to not knowing what ‘sheygetz’ [sic] means, I thought maybe he could use some ashkenazic learnin’. Anyhow, I present for your perusal some facts about the term ‘shaygetz’, courtesy of a jewish FAQ.

Shiksa and Shaygetz are the Yiddish derivative of the respective feminine and masculine Hebrew words for something unclean, dirty. The appellations are customarily applied to gentiles who do things inimical to Jewish interests, such as vandalizing Jewish buildings, robbing Jewish kids of their lunch money, or becoming romantically involved with Jews. The root is “sheketz”, which refers to house rodents and lizards. They impart ritual impurity, and therefore the term lends itself to the same kind of idea. Some have taken to using the term to refer to Christian women in general. If Christians were using the term against Jews in English, they would be saying “Filthy Jews” or “Dirty Jews”, and we Jews would rightly be offended.

Apparently in Israel, misbehaving children sometimes get called ‘shaygetz’ as well. Can the parties who would know confirm?

Latest posts by grandmuffti (see all)

About the author



  • Muffti, that is precisely why I almost never (I’m tempted to just say never) use the terms shaygetz or shiksa, although I believe the term shiksa has been watered down as an insult and is used with humour now since so many non-Jews know it and use it.

  • “Shaigetz” is now commonly used to refer to someone acting or thinking in a non-Jewish (ie-frum), way.

    I can’t believe you watch TV; you’re such a sheigetz.

  • i’ve always known it to mean “crawling critter” with the implication that it is a non-jewish male out to bed your jewish daughter. conversely there is shiksa, which is the non-jewish girl your “nice jewish” son is banging.

  • i should note, btw, that when i bring my irish catholic friend eric to jewish events, he introduces himself to the ladies saying, “hi, i’m the shaygetz. i’m the one your mother warned you about.”

  • Yeah, I never use this term either. My non-Jewish friends also sometimes identify themselves as “shiksas” or “shaygetzes” basically, I take their quip, and ruin it with reality. And yes, I’m a blast at parties.

  • Wow. Ashkenazic Jews are so ethnic and colorful! Yiddish is such a meaningful and rich language full of subtle layers of meaning. No wonder Mormons the world over envy y’all. As for the spelling, I’ve noted three different versions of the word in question so far. Was that [sic] just an academic passive aggressive affectation? Or is there an actual official spelling for a word usually spelt in Hebrew characters?

    You also wrote:

    Apparently in Israel, misbehaving children sometimes get called ’shaygetz’ as well. Can the parties who would know confirm?

    In our circles, misbehaving children are referred to as Arabs. Pretty offensive I know, but it’s an anachronistic hold back from the casbah days, what can I say.

  • Yiddish uses Hebrew letters, there is no correct spelling of a transliteration. Your transliteration will also vary depending on the region of Yiddish.

    Like “Channuckah”

  • So velvel, are you saying that applying a [sic] to “sheygetz” is uh… wrong?

  • Of course we have Rina! And did you know that Adam Goldberg, the guy that plays the Hebrew Hammer, is a Shay uh… not a Jew?

  • Actually, Adam Goldberg is Jewish if you go by patrilineal descent (and no, I’m not trying to start THAT discussion, I’m just saying….). His mother, however, was the one who insisted on Hebrew School and encouraged Judaism. I think that is important to note, instead of just “he isn’t a Jew” because that might imply he has had no relationship with Judaism—which would make The Hebrew Hammer a lot less funny…..and we can’t have that!

  • My mother wasn’t originally Jewish either, but she converted way before my parents were married. She was practically raised Jewish by her best friend’s parents. Quite interesting really. She’s more Jewish than my father in everything, and I find it quite amusing. I love how a lot of the times converts are very very strict, even for a reform Jew. Gotta love us American Jews!

  • A friend of mine (who happens to be an honest-to-goodness Jewish biker) recommended that I watch Hebrew Hammer.

    Took me a few minutes to wrap my poor dumb head around the fact that the movie was intended to offend.

    Thereafter nearly fell off my chair laughing.

    What’s with all the tats on the dude though?

  • I would have to say that Canadian Jewesses that play hockey are pretty hot too 😉

    (Ed. note: ck’s sister tiff plays hockey.)

  • The word Jewess has always sound whimsicle to me. It has a sort of flow to it. Like a character in a story.

  • I was under the impression that those words used to be offensive but were “taken back” so to speak so they are no longer offensive.

  • this uppity jewess is not offended in the least. i also happen to know that patty is a hot, hockey playing, curling, mosaic making shiksa. she also likes to work the wood on tuesday nights! 🙂

  • I tend to think the word shaigetz is perjorative when used to desribe a jew and descriptive when describing a non-jew.