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Shegetz (שייגעץ or in Hebrew שֵׁיְגֶּץ; alternative Romanizations incl. shaygetz, sheigetz, shaigetz, sheygets; plural שקצים shkotzim, shgatzim) is a Yiddish word that has entered English to refer to a non-Jewish boy or young man. It is often used disparagingly.[1]


Although the word shegetz, like its feminine counterpart shiksa, comes from the Hebrew sheketz ("detestable," "abomination", "loathed", "blemish") and literally translates as "rascal", "scoundrel" or "varmint", its pejorative connotations range from negligible to severe, depending on the context. In former times, it was common practice for Ashkenazi Jews, that is, Jews in Eastern Europe who were harassed by youths to label their tormentors shkotzim.

Nacham Grossbard of Haifa, writing in the Memorial Book for the Community of Ciechanów (1962), recounted these memories of his early years in Poland: "At the finish of the match, as soon as the whistle blows, we Jewish boys run as fast as we can, out of breath, all the way home in order not to have stones thrown at us or be hit by the shkotzim (non-Jewish boys)."[2]

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