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List of religious slurs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following is a list of religious slurs or religious insults in the English language that are, or have been, used as insinuations or allegations about adherents or non-believers of a given religion or irreligion, or to refer to them in a derogatory (critical or disrespectful), pejorative (disapproving or contemptuous), or insulting manner.




Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Bible beater, Bible basher North America Pentecostals A dysphemism for people who believe in the fundamentalist authority of the Bible, particularly those from a Pentecostal or fundamentalist denomination.[1] It is also a slang term for an evangelising Christian. Commonly used universally against Christians who are perceived to go out of their way to energetically preach their faith to others. [1][2][3]
Bible thumper United States Christian people Someone perceived as aggressively imposing their Christian beliefs upon others. The term derives from preachers thumping their hands down on the Bible, or thumping the Bible itself, to emphasize a point during a sermon. The term's target domain is broad and can often extend to anyone engaged in a public show of religion, fundamentalist or not. The term is frequently used in English-speaking countries. [4]
Cafeteria Christian United States Selection of Christian doctrines Used by some Christians, and others, to accuse other Christian individuals or denominations of selecting which Christian doctrines they will follow, and which they will not. [5]
Chuhra Punjab, Pakistan Lower-class Christians and menial workers; later used against Christians in general. Also used against Pakistani Hindu people. Derived from the name of the Chuhra caste, historically a Dalit caste whose traditional occupation was sweeping and cleaning. Most Christians in Punjab are from this community, and still they are the majority of street sweepers in Punjab province. The term became an abuse for all Christians. [6][7]
Fundie United States Christian fundamentalists Shortening of fundamentalist. Usually used to mean a Christian fundamentalist. [8]
God botherer Australia Christian people Similar to Bible basher, a person who is very vocal about their religion and prayer. [9]
Isai, Saai Pakistan Christian people From Isa, the name of Jesus Christ from the Qur'an as a prophet of Islam. The term literally means '[person/people] of Jesus', but it later meant 'street sweeper' or 'labourer'. [10]
Rice Christian, Rice bag United Kingdom, India Materially benefiting Christians

In India: Christians (especially lower caste converts)

Someone who has formally declared themself a Christian for material benefits rather than for religious reasons. In India, the term has been extended to refer to any Christian convert. [11][12]


Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Campbellite United States Followers of Church of Christ Followers of the Church of Christ, from American Restoration Movement leaders Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell, the latter being one of two key people considered the founders of the movement. [13]
Holy Roller United States Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians Named after Church services involving rolling on the floor in an uncontrolled manner. [14]
Hun United Kingdom, Ireland Christian Protestants, especially Glasgow Rangers supporters Used by Irish republicans against Protestant unionists, especially by Glasgow Celtic supporters against those of Glasgow Rangers [15][16]
Jaffa United Kingdom Christian Protestants Named after a common orange-flavoured cake/biscuit in Ireland and UK. [16]
Prod, Proddy United Kingdom, Ireland Christian Protestants Particularly used by bullies to disparage a child who attends a Protestant school. Proddywhoddy and proddywoddy are used in children's school rhymes in Cork. [17][16]
Orangie Ireland Ulster Protestants Referring to the Orange Order [16]
Russellite United States Jehovah's Witnesses Jehovah's Witnesses, from American religious leader Charles Taze Russell. [18][19]
Shaker United States Christian people Member of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. Originated as "Shaking Quakers", in reference to their similarity to Quakers as well as their charismatic worship practices, which involved dancing, shouting, and speaking in tongues. The term was originally derogatory, but very early on was embraced and used by the Shakers themselves. [20][21][22]
Soup-taker Ireland Christian who has sold out their beliefs Person who has sold out their beliefs, referring to the Great Famine of Ireland when some Catholics converted to a Protestant faith in order to gain access to a free meal. [23]
Sulpot Philippines Protestants From Tagalog word sulpot, means "to appear unexpected", due to the advent of Protestantism that started in the Middle Ages, insisting that the Roman Catholic Church is the true church founded by Jesus Christ in Israel in about 30 A.D. [citation needed]


Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Left-footer United Kingdom Roman Catholics An informal phrase for a Roman Catholic, particularly in the armed forces. Derived from a belief that Irish laborers kick their shovels into the ground with their left foot. [24][25]
Fenian United Kingdom Irish Catholics A term originally referencing the Fenian Brotherhood and the Irish Republican Brotherhood, organizations which supported a united Ireland. Today the term is used as a sectarian slur by Protestants, especially in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Australia. [26]
Mackerel Snapper North America Roman Catholics The term originated in the U.S. in the 1850s and refers to the custom of Friday abstinence. The Friday abstinence from meat (red meat and poultry) distinguishes Catholics from other Christians, especially in North America. [27][28]
Mick United Kingdom Irish Catholic Usually an Irish Catholic (a reference to the common "Mc" patronymic of Irish surnames, or a hypocorism of "Michael"). [29]
Papist Northern Ireland, North America Roman Catholic Usually Irish Catholic; online often used generically for any Catholic.[30] [30]
Red letter tribe North America Roman Catholics A name given to Catholics for their keeping so many holy days - marked in their almanacs with red-coloured letters. [31]
Redneck Ireland Roman Catholics Roman Catholic person, now considered archaic due to its association with the better-known American term. [32]
Romanist England Roman Catholics Term used when anti-Catholicism was more common in the United States, as well as in Northern Ireland by Ulster Protestants [33][34]
Shaveling Unknown Roman Catholics Usually disparaging: a tonsured clergyman, priest. [35]
Taig Northern Ireland Irish Catholics From tadhg, Irish for "Timothy". [36]

Oriental Orthodox

Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Jacobite Syriac Orthodox The term is named after Jacob Baradeus who liberated the Oriental Orthodox from persecution in the mid-6th century. This title is rejected by the Syriac Orthodox as it assumes that the Church had been started by Jacob. https://syrianorthodoxchurch.org/general-history/

Latter Day Saint movement

Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Molly Mormon United States Latter Day Saint Term for the stereotype of a "perfect" female member of LDS Church. [37]
Peter Priesthood United States Latter Day Saint Term for the stereotype of a "perfect" male member of LDS Church. [38]
Jack Mormon United States Latter Day Saint A non-faithful LDS person or a non-Mormon altogether. Jack Mormon is usually used by non-Mormons to describe Mormons that do not follow the Word of Wisdom (dietary and health practices that exclude the use of tobacco or alcohol) and by Mormons to describe members that do not sufficiently follow practices. It is also used by Mormons to describe those who were Mormon but remain friendly to the church. It may be applied to ex-Mormons who have repudiated the church and its teachings but that is a rare usage. [39]


Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning, origin and notes References
Abbie, Abie North America Jewish male A Jewish male. From the proper name Abraham. Originated before the 1950s.[40] [40]
Christ-killer Jews In reference to Jewish deicide. [41]
Feuj (verlan for juif) France Jews A corruption of the French word for Jewish, juif. Originating from the French argot Verlan. [42]
Heeb, Hebe United States Jews Derived from the word Hebrew. [43][44]
Hymie United States Jews Derived from the Hebrew Chaim ('life'). Also used in the term Hymietown, a nickname for Brooklyn, New York, and as a first name. [45]
Ikey, Ike United States Jews Derived from Isaac, an important figure in Judaism and common Hebrew given name. [46]
Itzig Nazi Germany Jews From Yiddish איציק (itsik), a variant or pet form of the name Isaak (alternatively Isaac). The Nazis before World War II (but after taking power in 1933–1934) started persecution and imprisonment of Jews before escalating to genocide, resulting in the Holocaust. [47]
Jewboy United States Young Jewish boys For a young Jewish male, originally young Jewish boys who sold counterfeit coins in 18th century London. [48][49]
Jidan Romania Jews From jid, Romanian equivalent of yid. [50]
Kike United States Jews Possibly from the Yiddish word for 'circle', kikel, It was suggested by Leo Rosten that the term originates from Jews who entered the United States at Ellis Island signed their names with a circle instead of a cross because they associated the cross with Christianity. [51][52]
Mocky United States Jews First used in the 1930s, possibly from the Yiddish word makeh meaning 'plague'. [53][54]
Red Sea pedestrian Australia Jews A Jew, from the story of Moses leading the Jewish people out of Egypt in the Book of Exodus. [55]
Rootless cosmopolitan
(Russian: безродный космополит)
Soviet Union Jews Soviet epithet as an accusation of lack of full allegiance to the Soviet Union. [56]
Sheeny Europe Jews From Yiddish sheyn or German schön meaning 'beautiful'. [57]
Shylock England Jews Jewish people as shrewd and money-loving; derived from the character in Shakespeare's play "Merchant of Venice". [58]
Yid Europe Jews Yiddish word for 'Jew'. [59]




Jews From Russian and other Slavic languages, originally neutral, but became pejorative during debate over the Jewish question in the 1800s. Its use was banned by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s. [60]


Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Abdul, Abdool India Muslims Derives from the common Muslim name Abdul. [61]
Chuslim India Muslims Portmanteau of the words Chutiya+Muslim, chutiya being a common swear word in Hindi/Urdu. [62]
Jihadi India Muslims, especially fundamental Jihadists Derives from jihad. [63]
Kadrun Indonesia Islamic fundamentalism and reactionaries Portmanteau of kadal gurun meaning 'desert lizard'. Originated as a social media political insult, the term is used for closed-minded Muslims influenced by Islamic extremism and fundamentalism from the Middle East. [64][65]
Kala, Kaliya Myanmar Rohingyas, Muslims Term meaning 'black' in various Indo-Aryan languages, referring to the dark skin colour of South Asian Muslims. The term originally was targeted at all Muslims of South Asia, but more recently is used as a slur directly against Rohingyas due to their perceived Bangladeshi origin. [66]
Katwa, Katwe, Katuve, Katua, K2a, K2o, k2wa, kto India Muslim men Derives from the Hindi/Urdu for 'cut' referring to circumcision, a common practice among Muslim men. [63][67]
Miya Assam, India Bengali Muslims Derives from the honorific Mian. [68]
Mulla, Mullah, Katmulle, Sulla, Bulla India Muslims Derives from mullah, a common title for Islamic religious scholars. [61][62]
Muklo Philippines Filipino Muslims (especially among Bangsamoro ethnic groups) First used by soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines stationed in Mindanao as an ethnic slur towards the Muslim Moro insurgents. [69]
Muzzie Australia Muslims A shortened version of the word Muslim. [70]
Namazi, Namaji, Andhnamazi India Muslims Derives from namaz, the Persian word for obligatory daily prayers usually used instead of salah in the Indian subcontinent. [63]
Peaceful, peacefools, pissful, shantidoot India Muslims Derives from the common statement that Islam is a "religion of peace". Sometimes the Hindi word "shantidoot" (Messenger of Peace) is used. [61]
Osama North America Islamic men From Osama bin Laden. [71]
Qadiani Pakistan Ahmadiyya The term originates from Qadian, a small town in present-day Indian Punjab, the birthplace of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement. The use of Qadiani is primarily in Pakistan. The term has even been used in official Pakistani documents. It is also known as the Q-word. [72][73][74]
Rafida, Rawafid Arab peninsula Shīʿi Muslims (regardless of race) Term originally denoting extremist Shīʿites who reject (rafḍ) the caliphates of Abu Bakr and ʿUmar; often employed by critics as a slur against those Shīʿi Muslims who do not criticize the first three Caliphs, but only believe in "Alī’s right to the caliphate over Muʿāwiyah". [75]
Raghead North America Islamic turban wearers From Islamic wearing of turbans. [71][76]
Safavid Iraq Feyli Kurds Mainly used by higher class Sunni Arabs during Ba'athist Iraq to insult Feyli Kurds for their belief in Shia Islam [77]
Terrorist United States Muslims Used by radical anti-Islamists, due to anti-Muslim sentiments following September 11 attacks and subsequently ISIS attacks. [78]
Hajji, Hadji, Haji United States Muslims Derived from the honorific Al-Hajji, the title given to a Muslim who has completed the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). [79][80]


Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Cow piss drinker, piss drinker Western countries Hindus Referring to the practice of drinking gomutra, or cow urine, as a folk medicine advocated by some Hindu groups. [81]
Dothead Western countries Hindus, especially women Referring to the practice of applying bindis, a dot-like marking used by married women. Also the namesake of a terrorist group from New Jersey that murdered Indians known as the Dotbusters. [82]
Malaun Bangladesh Hindus, especially those from Bangladesh Derived from Bengali মালাউন (maalaaun), which in turn was derived from Arabic ملعون (mal'un), which means 'cursed' or deprived from God's mercy. [83][84][85]


Term Location of origin Targeted demographic Meaning origin and notes References
Lassi India, Pakistan Sikhs In reference to the famous Punjabi beverage Lassi which is a term used to denigrate Sikhs and Punjabis in general. This slur is mostly used by people from the Bihar region [86][76][87]
Santa-Banta India, Pakistan Gursikhs [88]
Raghead United States Sikh turban wearers In reference the Sikh practice of wearing dastar (turban) [89]


Term Location of




Meaning origin and notes References
Clam United States Scientologists Referring to a passage about clam engrams in L. Ron Hubbard's 1952 book, What To Audit, later renamed Scientology: A History of Man. [90]

African religions

Term Location of




Meaning origin and notes References
Voodoo United States Vodouists, African diaspora people, particularly Haitian Americans Used against people practicing any indigenous African religions to imply they are fraudulent and dangerous, with racialized connotations of curses and primitive superstitions. Used to justify Afrophobic legislation. [91]
Obeah Jamaica Practitioners of Obeah, Black Jamaicans Used against practicioners of Obeah as well as people who receive services from Obeah priests. Connotation of being fraudulent, deceptive, vengeful, and uncivilized. Originally used by colonial authorities to suppress slave rebellions that were organized by Obeah spiritual leaders. Laws still exist in Jamaica criminalizing Obeah. [92]

General non-believers

Word for a person who is not Muslim, but especially for a Christian. Adapted from the Turkish gâvur. In the Ottoman Empire, it was usually applied to Orthodox Christians.[93][94]
A person who does not belong to a widely held religion (especially one who is not a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim) as regarded by those who do.[95]
A term used generally for non-believers.[96]
A person who is a non believer.[97] Used by some Muslims.[98] Not to be confused with the South-African slur Kaffir.
A word meaning people who left Islam, mainly critics of Islam.[99]
A person who doesn't believe in Tawhid (monotheism) and practices polytheism, worships idols, saints, ancestors or graves.
A person who believe in a non-Abrahamic religion. Synonymous with heathen.[100]
A member of a people the speaker regards as primitive and uncivilized. The term has also been applied to non-adherents of Christianity.[101][102]
Shiksa (female), shegetz (male)
(Yiddish) A non-Jewish girl or boy or one who is of Jewish descent, but does not practice Orthodox Judaism.[103][104] Primarily used to refer to non-Jews. See also "goy".

Religious practitioners in general

Cult, cultist
Used as an ad hominem attack against groups with differing doctrines or practices.[105][106][107]

See also



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