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?



, , 3 years


  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