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Shiksa (Yiddish: שיקסע shikse) is a word of Yiddish origin that has moved into English usage (as well as Polish), mostly in North American Jewish culture, as a term for a non-Jewish woman, initially and sometimes still pejorative but now often used satirically. Shiksa refers to any non-Jewish (gentile) woman or girl who might be a temptation to Jewish men or boys, e.g., for dating, intermarriage, etc.

Professor Frederic Cople Jaher writes:

The shiksa obsesses many Jews: Rabbis see her as an intermarital threat to the survival of Judaism; parents fear that she will lure their sons away from family and faith; and Jewish men fantasize about her sexual and social desirability. She figures prominently—even compulsively—in popular movies and bestsellers by Jewish directors and writers.[1]

Among Orthodox Jews, the term may be used to describe a Jewish girl or woman who fails to follow Orthodox religious precepts.[2]

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


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 Polish, sziksa (pronounced [ʂɨksa])) is a pejorative word for an immature young girl or teenage girl, as it is a conflation between the Yiddish term and usage of the Polish verb sikać ("to urinate"). It means "pisspants" and is roughly equivalent to the English terms "snot-nosed brat", "little squirt", or "kid".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jaher, Frederic Cople (winter, 1983). "The quest for the ultimate shiksa". American Quarterly 35 (5). 
  2. ^ "shiksa—definition and more from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". 
  3. ^ Question 19.6: What does "shiksa" and "shaygetz" mean? How offensive are they?
  4. ^
  5. ^ Salon: "Is “shiksa” an insult? - The Yiddish word has become a part of the English lexicon, but its connotation remains fluid" By Menachem Kaiser March 6, 2013
  6. ^ [1] Słownik języka polskiego - str.112 (przeglądanie dokumentu wymaga instalacji przeglądarki DjVu)