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

  • 1
    How about אינו יהודי? or Aeino Yehudi? or perhaps a Bnei Noach, if appropriate? – RCW Jun 10 '11 at 22:08
  • 3
    Goyim or shgotzim were the noms de guerre in yeshiva. They may not be too diplomatic, though. – Tzvi Jun 10 '11 at 22:14
  • 3
    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
  • 1
    @Adam Why? Is this question not about Jewish Life & Learning? – yydl Feb 19 '12 at 23:37

I don't know of a problem with "gentiles", though "non-Jews" seems equally appropriate.

  • 1
    "Gentiles" can be ambiguous. – WAF Jun 10 '11 at 21:49
  • 6
    @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

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

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).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .