) KEY NOUN:
- An adherent of Judaism as a religion or culture.
- A member of the widely dispersed people originally descended from the ancient Hebrews and sharing an ethnic heritage based on Judaism.
- A native or inhabitant of the ancient kingdom of Judah.
Middle English Jeu
, from Old French giu
, from Latin Idaeus
, from Greek Ioudaios
, from Aramaic yhudy
, from Hebrew yhûdî
, inhabitant of Judah
, from yhûdâ
; see Judah2Usage Note:
It is widely recognized that the attributive use of the noun Jew,
in phrases such as Jew lawyer
or Jew ethics,
is both vulgar and highly offensive. In such contexts Jewish
is the only acceptable possibility. Some people, however, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew
as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own. In a sentence such as There are now several Jews on the council,
which is unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people
or persons of Jewish background
may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew
has a negative connotation when used as a noun.