||This article possibly contains original research. (November 2011)|
The Yiddish frum (Yiddish: פֿרום; [frum | frim], related to German fromm), meaning devout or pious, means committed to the observance of the 613 commandments of Orthodox Judaism. This appellation is generally, but not only, applied to Orthodox Jews, and used by that group as a self-reference. The opposite of frum is frei (Yiddish and German "free") meaning someone who is not religious and free from the yoke of the 613 commandments, or who feels "free" to do whatever they feel like doing. Someone who is extremely frum or devout is known as a frummer or frummie.
Frummer can also have a negative connotation similar to Chasid Shoteh (pious idiot), which is how the Talmud (Sotah 21B) describes a man who sees a woman drowning but refuses to save her for, he says, "it is not proper to look at her, and rescue her." A frummer in that sense is a person displaying a disproportionate emphasis on technical aspects of religion at the expense of worldly or practical concerns.
"Frum" can be used in a negative sense for: "hypocritically pious", "holier-than-thou", "sanctimonious"; or in a positive sense for: "pious", "devout", "God-fearing" and "upright". A combination is sometimes used to describe someone as "frum and ehrlich", which captures all the positive attributes of these words and would roughly mean "upright" or "righteous" (tzadik).
Frum can have other specific meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It can be used to describe things such as clothes or homes which can be more in line with Jewish law.
In Orthodox communities, the initialism "FFB," meaning "Frum From Birth," is often used to refer to a person who was born into a religiously observant family and has maintained this lifestyle; it contrasts with "BT" which refers to a baal teshuva - a Jew from a secular background who has become religiously observant later in life.