What is the etymology of the word "Kittel"? (Kittel is a white garment worn by many at the Pesach Seder and on Yom Kippur by Davening)

  • 2
    Wikipedia says that it's from German "kittel" "coat". Oct 2, 2014 at 20:39
  • Is this off-topic?
    – Lee
    Apr 21, 2016 at 21:02

4 Answers 4


Kittel is German and means "smock, overall". The ultimate etymology of the German word is debated. See this: http://www.dwds.de/?qu=kittel


From Webster's dictionary:

Origin of KITTEL

Yiddish kitel, from Middle High German kitel, kietel cotton or hempen outer garment, probably from Arabic qutn cotton

I've never seen a hemp kittel. Isn't hemp the stuff they USED to wrap etrogim (or "esroygim" in yeshivish) hat "invented" the "foam"? I would imagine a hemp kittel would be somewhat messy and very hot. Anyone seen a hemp kittel?

OK, so Webster is a non-Jewish source. But, it seems that "kittel" (not to be confused with "kvittel") is also a "borrowed" / adapted word. Enjoy your little kittel :-)


As a fluent Yiddish speaker, I feel obliged to answer this question.

The meaning of the word "kittel" (Yid: קיטל) is "little robe" in the German dialect of Yiddish. :) Hope this helps.

  • And what's the etymology of that word?
    – Double AA
    Jan 15, 2016 at 5:42

Wikipedia says that "Kittel" is a German word which is derived from the Arabic word "qutun" (which also gives us English-speakers the word "cotton"). Since Yiddish basically is a German dialect (like Swiss German and, much more remotely, Dutch) more than half of the its vocabulary is German words (pronounced as differently from standard German pronunciation as is Swiss German). In standard German, a "Kittel is a loose work garment worn over street clothes.

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