By Deane Barker

This is Yiddish for a non-Jew. The plural is “goyim.”

It’s disputed as to whether the word is a Semitic slur – a word that Jewish people use to pejoratively refer to non-Jews. Wikipedia has a list of Yiddish phrases where “goy” is meant to refer to something trivial, frustrating, or pointless.

The term is sometimes turned around and used anti-Semitically. For example, a racist might proudly and specifically refer to themselves as a “goy.”

Why I Looked It Up

On an episode of Happy Endings, Penny was wondering why young Jewish boys would always hit on her at Bar Mitzvahs. Jane offered this:

You’re a goy with vaguely Semitic looks.

The implication was that she’s not Jewish but looks like it.

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