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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Jew \Jew\, n. [OF. Juis, pl., F. Juif, L. Judaeus, Gr. ?, fr. ? the country of the Jews, Judea, fr. Heb. Y[e^]h[=u]d[=a]h Judah, son of Jacob. Cf. Judaic.]

  1. Originally, one belonging to the tribe or kingdom of Judah; after the return from the Babylonish captivity, any member of the new state; a Hebrew; an Israelite.

  2. An adherent of Judaism.

    Jew's frankincense, gum styrax, or benzoin.

    Jew's mallow (Bot.), an annual herb ( Corchorus olitorius) cultivated in Syria and Egypt as a pot herb, and in India for its fiber.

    Jew's pitch, asphaltum; bitumen.

    The Wandering Jew, an imaginary personage, who, for his cruelty to Christ during his passion, is doomed to wander on the earth till Christ's second coming.

    Wandering Jew, any of several house plants of the genera Zebrina and Tradescantia having white-striped leaves, especially the creeping plants Zebrina pendula and Tradescantia fluminensis.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 12c. (in plural, giwis), from Anglo-French iuw, Old French giu, from Latin Iudaeum (nominative Iudaeus), from Greek Ioudaios, from Aramaic jehudhai (Hebrew y'hudi) "Jew," from Y'hudah "Judah," literally "celebrated," name of Jacob's fourth son and of the tribe descended from him. Replaced Old English Iudeas "the Jews." Originally, "Hebrew of the kingdom of Judah."\n

\nJews' harp "simple mouth harp" is from 1580s, earlier Jews' trump (1540s); the connection with Jewishness is obscure. Jew-baiting first recorded 1853, in reference to German Judenhetze. In uneducated times, inexplicable ancient artifacts were credited to Jews, based on the biblical chronology of history: such as Jews' money (1570s) "Roman coins found in England." In Greece, after Christianity had erased the memory of classical glory, ruins of pagan temples were called "Jews' castles," and in Cornwall, Jews' houses was the name for the remains of ancient tin-smelting works.


"to cheat, to drive a hard bargain," 1824, from Jew (n.) (compare gyp, welsh, etc.). The campaign to eliminate it in early 20c. was so successful that people began to avoid the noun and adjective, too, and started using Hebrew instead.Now I'll say 'a Jew' and just the word Jew sounds like a dirty word and people don't know whether to laugh or not. [Lenny Bruce (1925-1966)]


vb. (context offensive English) To bargain, to attempt to gain an unfair price in a business deal; to defraud.

Jew (word)

The term Jew passed into the English language from the Greek Ioudaios and Latin Iudaeus, from which the Old Frenchgiu was derived after dropping the letter "d", and later after a variety of forms found in early English (from about the year 1000) such as: Iudea, Gyu, Giu, Iuu, Iuw, Iew developed into the English word “Jew.” It thus ultimately originates in the Biblical Hebrew word Yehudi meaning "from the Tribe of Judah", "from the Kingdom of Judah", or " Jew". The Jewish ethnonym in Hebrew is , Yehudim (plural of , Yehudi).

Jew (disambiguation)

A Jew is a member of the Jewish people.

Jew may also refer to:

  • Judaism, the religion, philosophy, culture and way of life of the Jewish people
  • Jew (word), a term passed into the English language from Greek

Usage examples of "jew".

I have known from my childhood that there is such a science as the one you profess, and I was acquainted with a Jew who by its aid made an immense fortune.

A great many expressions of kindred tenor might easily be adduced, leaving it hardly possible to doubt as indeed we are not aware that any one does doubt that many of the Jews literally held that sin was the sole cause of bodily dissolution.

In opposition to the anthropopathism of the Jewish Scriptures, the Alexandrian Jews endeavored to purify the idea of God from all admixture of the Human.

No one guessed that the mourning dress of the celebrated French writer belonged to the merchant Fromery, and that the glittering diamond agraffes in his bosom, and the costly rings on his fingers, were the property of the Jew Hirsch.

Idrees, accounted the second ameer of that name, who there lies buried in the most important mosque of the Empire, the very approaches of which are closed to the Jew and the Nazarene.

There are scattered citizens of the Commonwealth who trace their ethnic ancestry back to a people knows as the Jews.

No elderly, overweight, unkempt and accented Polish Jew, long-retired from the snack bar business and needle trade, had ever managed an aperitif in the establishment, let alone membership.

Thus if God is going to be fair about the matter, it would seem that only impenitent Christians, along with some apocalyptically minded Jews, can have been consigned to such a hell.

He looked around the room, which was full of plants native to Old Earth: araucaria and cactus and wandering jew, and other green plants whose names he did not know.

As many Jews, especially rich ones, are to be arrested as can be accommodated in the existing prisons .

The Jew was astonished at my not having spoken to the secretary, although my silence had cried more loudly than his cowardly complaints.

No doubt the astonished girl had published my generosity all over the town, and the Jew, intent on money-making, had hastened to offer his ducats to the rich nobleman who thought so little of his money.

Lightning, like all authoritarian Judeo-Christian heresies, had its own share of this typically Occidental straight-line mystique, which was why even the Jews among them, like Zev Hirsch, accepted the symbol first suggested by Atlanta Hope: that most Euclidean of all religious emblems: the Cross.

The cruel and avaricious desires of the monarchs against these thrifty and industrious people added fuel to the flames of the popular passion, and even a fanatic zeal arose among the Jews to perish as martyrs to their ancient religion.

Further, if others were baptized with that baptism, this was only in order that they might be prepared for the baptism of Christ: and thus it would seem fitting that the baptism of John should be conferred on all, old and young, Gentile and Jew, just as the baptism of Christ.