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n. (context Jewish slang English) One whose gender can not be determined by a physical examination; a person lacking external genitalia; an androgynous person; sometimes a hermaphrodite.


Tumtum may refer to:

  • Tumtum (Judaism), a person whose sex is unknown
  • Tumtum language, a Kadu language spoken in Kordofan
  • Tumtum Tree, a fictional tree mentioned in the poem "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll
  • Tumtum and Nutmeg, the first of a series of children's books by author Emily Bearn
Tumtum (Judaism)

Tumtum (טומטום in Hebrew, meaning "hidden") is a term that appears in Jewish Rabbinic literature and usually refers to a person whose sex is unknown, because their genitalia are covered or "hidden." Although they are often grouped together, the Tumtum has some halachic ramifications distinct from those of the Androgynos , who has both male and female genitalia.

It is not clear what the actual anatomy of a Tumtum is; however, it would seem that according to medieval commentator Rashi, a Tumtum may have exposed testicles and an unexposed penis.

The Mishnah (Zavim, 2, 1) says that Tumtum and Androgynos have both men's and women's Chumras, meaning that where the law is stricter towards men than women, they are treated as men, but where the law is stricter towards women, they are treated as women.

Tumtum is not defined as a separate gender, but rather a state of doubt. A Tumtum must be either male or female, but since we do not know which one, the strictest gender-dependent obligations or prohibitions are taken on. To this end, positive commandments from which women are exempted are considered binding on a Tumtum.

Nathan ben Jehiel says on his book Aruk (on ערך טם) that the word Tumtum came from the word Atum which means blocked or covered.

Usage examples of "tumtum".

Peez said bitterly, seating herself in a high-backed chair as far from Teddy Tumtum as possible.

Teddy Tumtum demanded, button eyes fairly bugging out of his squishy fabric skull.

Teddy Tumtum sneered better than a corps of trained sixteen-year-old mall rats.

Teddy Tumtum said, hauling himself to the top of the carry-on bag and holding onto one of the handles.

Teddy Tumtum so that she could converse with the insidious toy in public and in peace for the duration of her travels.

The first thing she did after fastening her seat belt was to dig Teddy Tumtum out of her carry-on bag and wave a piece of parchment in his furry face.

Teddy Tumtum snorted, then melted into more of his stomach-churning baby-talk mode.

It was Teddy Tumtum who had managed to pull himself out of the sawdust pile and across the floor to rejoin his mistress.

Peez could tote Teddy Tumtum along as a bespelled Object of Great Power, but as a plain old ordinary-looking teddybear?

Teddy Tumtum leaned over the top of the headboard, a mischievous glint in his eyes.

Teddy Tumtum had provided plenty of additional insights for dealing with the man, all of which now seemed silly since Peez had decided to quit dealing with him and all of the other E.

Peez felt a fleeting urge to rush out to the car and fetch Teddy Tumtum, but she knew that was impossible.

She sounded perfectly calm when she said it, too, and yet Teddy Tumtum, who had almost succeeded in hauling himself out of the wastepaper basket, took one look at her and promptly dropped back down to safety.

There was a papery rustling from the inner office as Teddy Tumtum came floating out to her hand, a few scraps of torn-up phone memo slips and a used tissue clinging to his fur.