I’ve looked all over the internet for the origin of the word Yamaka. I guess you could also spell it yamakah. I’m so confused because I grew up using it and people I speak with still use it. However, whenever I search online, the only words for skullcap I can find being used, let alone defined, are yarmulke and kippah. I was always under the impression that yarmulke was Yiddish and kippah was Hebrew and when I look them up on Wikipedia this is what I find. I want to know the origin of the word yamakah but can’t even find it online being used...does anyone know where it comes from and why it isn’t even used in any literature?


2 Answers 2


According to Wikipedia, 'Yarmulke' is pronounced 'Yamakah'. Which means that Yamakah is a misspelling of Yarmulke.


Yamaka or Yarmulke is actually a contraction of Yareh MiKah - יָרֵא מִקָה - i.e. to fear Gcd, the purpose of covering one's head, originally.

Say Yareh MiKah a few times in succession and it will start sounding like Yamaka or Yarmulke. For some reason, Yarmulke became the "official" way to say it. Compare to the etymology of Goodbye - from godbwye (1570s), itself a contraction of Gcd be with ye (late 14c.).

  • 1
    Isn't the folk etymology that it derives from ירא מלכא - fear the King?
    – Joel K
    Jan 6, 2020 at 13:11
  • Borrowed from Yiddish יאַרמלקע‎ (yarmlke), from Polish jarmułka (“skullcap”) or a Ukrainian cognate of the same. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/yarmulke Jan 6, 2020 at 14:43
  • @Kazi makes sense it comes from a Turkish word. After all, the Yarmulka is the hat that the Caliphate forced on the Jews.
    – user6591
    Jan 6, 2020 at 21:31

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