What is a shiksa?


UN Ambassador Nikki Haley recently told a joke at a charity event about the president referring to her a shiksa? What language is this word and what does it mean?





  1. The word is actually part of the English language, is in the dictionary and has it roots from Yiddish. It refers to “a non-Jewish girl or woman” according to Merriam Webster. The joke was that the president, famous for giving nicknames, had – in her joke – said she was this, and she had innocently thought it was her nickname. But it was all meant in good humor.

    On a more serious note, the work seems to have its origins from the Biblical word for an insect – sheketz. Therefore, the word is often considering disparaging, although it would depend on the context. People I know refrain from using this word. The main times I have heard it over the years is when a parent or family member is discouraging intermarriage and close fraternization between a Jewish man and a non-Jewish woman by saying: “Please don’t marry a shiksa!



    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team