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What's the most diplomatic and politically correct way to refer to non-Jews. Both in conversation, and in terms of this site?

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    How about אינו יהודי? or Aeino Yehudi? or perhaps a Bnei Noach, if appropriate? – RCW Jun 10 '11 at 22:08
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    Goyim or shgotzim were the noms de guerre in yeshiva. They may not be too diplomatic, though. – Tzvi Jun 10 '11 at 22:14
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    Shkotzim isn't diplomatic, but goyim simply means gentiles in Hebrew. It only has a negative connotation when you say it with a negative intonation. – Adam Mosheh Feb 19 '12 at 21:12
  • I propose that this question be moved to meta. – Adam Mosheh Feb 19 '12 at 22:13
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    @Adam Why? Is this question not about Jewish Life & Learning? – yydl Feb 19 '12 at 23:37
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I don't know of a problem with "gentiles", though "non-Jews" seems equally appropriate.

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    "Gentiles" can be ambiguous. – WAF Jun 10 '11 at 21:49
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    @WAF, Not in this context. – Isaac Moses Jun 12 '11 at 4:17
  • @IsaacMoses - Yes, but if the context is not explicit, then it can be ambiguous. – Adam Mosheh Feb 19 '12 at 22:36
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I would suggest that the term "non-Jew" is both precise and neutral, and a perfectly acceptable halachic term as well, as halachic works such as the Shulchan Aruch often refer to א"י or אינו יהודי (non Jew).

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I think that if people are talking in English, then the words "gentile" or "non-Jew" should be used. However, the terms gentile and non-Jew are likely to be inappropriate if the if the conversation is in more of a "Yeshivish" dialect, because these are both English words. How about Nokhrim (נכרים) or Zarim (זרים)? The latter terms both mean something along the lines of aliens or strangers.

  • How is it "inappropriate" to use sufficiently descriptive English words in an English conversation that happens to be in a "Yeshivish" context? Given that Yeshivish is entirely a folk dialect, I don't get how prescriptivism makes any sense with respect to it. – Isaac Moses Jun 25 '12 at 14:23

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