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Shiksa (Yiddish: שיקסע‎, translit. shikse) is an often disparaging[1] term for a non-Jewish woman or girl. The word, which is of Yiddish origin, has moved into English usage (as well as Polish and German), mostly in North American Jewish culture, as According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it came into English usage in the late 19th century from the Yiddish shikse, which is an adaptation of the Hebrew word šiqṣâ, which is derived from sheqeṣ ("a detested thing") and the feminine suffix .[2]

Among Orthodox Jews, the term may be used to describe a Jewish girl or woman who fails to follow Orthodox religious precepts.[1]

The equivalent term for a non-Jewish male, used less frequently, is shegetz.[3]

As self-reference[edit]

Writer Menachem Kaiser argues in his essay "Anti-non-Semitism: An Investigation of the Shiksa" that "the pejorative connotation of 'shiksa' is fuzzy at best" because "'shiksa' today is used as often as not in winking self-reference".[4]


The etymology of the word shiksa is partly derived from the Hebrew term שקץ shekets, meaning "abomination", "impure," or "object of loathing", depending on the translator.[3]

Several dictionaries define shiksa as a disparaging and offensive term applied to a non-Jewish girl or woman.[4][5] In 2014, Rabbi Jack Abramowitz described it as "simply indefensible", "inherently condescending, racist and misogynistic".[6]


In Polish, siksa or sziksa (pronounced [ɕiksa]) is a pejorative but humorous word for an immature young girl or teenage girl. According to Polish language dictionary from 1915, it has been defined as "pisspants"; a conflation between the Yiddish term and its similarity to the Polish verb sikać ("to piss"). In today's language however, it is roughly equivalent to the English terms "snot-nosed brat", "little squirt", and "naughty school-girl" in a humorous context.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Shiksa | Definition of shiksa by Merriam-Webster". Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "Shiksa". Oxford English Dictionary. Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0). Oxford University Press. 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-956383-8.
  3. ^ a b "soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Miscellaneous and References (11/12) Section - Question 19.6: What does "shiksa" and "shaygetz" mean? How offensive are they?". March 27, 2014. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Kaiser, Menachem (March 6, 2013). "Anti-non-Semitism: An Investigation of the Shiksa". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  5. ^ "definition of shiksa". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Abramowitz, Jack (December 18, 2014). "The Jewish N Word". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "Warsaw University Digital Library - Słownik języka polskiego". 1915. p. 128. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Siksa - Poradnia językowa PWN. Polish Scientific Publishers PWN 2016.