:"For other meanings, see Kike (disambiguation)."In modern English language, the word kike (IPA: /ˈkаɪk/) is a pejorative ethnic slur referring to a Jew. In some languages, such as Spanish, this word (pronounced IPA|/ˈkike/) is a given name or shortened from a longer form and is not considered derogatory.


The etymology of the term is uncertain. It may be an alteration of a common ending of the personal names of Eastern European Jews who emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. The first recorded usage of the term is in 1904. [Oxford English Dictionary, "kike"] [ Kim Pearson's "Rhetoric of Race"] by Eric Wolarsky. The College of New Jersey.]

According to Leo Rosten,

In the eyes of many European Jews, a cross was the sign of Christian persecution from which they sought the refuge in the New World. According to Rosten, Jewish American merchants continued to sign with an 'O' instead of an 'X' for several decades, spreading the nickname "kike" wherever they went as a result. At that time "kike" was more of an affectionate term, used by Jews to describe other Jews, and only developed into an ethnic slur later on.

In his book "How the Irish Invented Slang: the Secret Language of the Crossroads," Daniel Cassidy suggests an alternative etymology. Cassidy notes that the Irish Language word "Ciabhóg" (pronounced k'i'og) was the general term used by the Irish and Irish-Americans to denote the payot of Orthodox Jews. The Irish word "Ciabhóg" means "side-curl," which is what payot are.

Another possible etymology is that the term comes from the Greek word for circle, kyklos, and referenced the practice of circumcision.Fact|date=July 2008


ee also

* Antisemitism
* List of ethnic group names used as insults (distinct from the below)
* List of ethnic slurs
* Profanity — with a discussion of how words can differ in meaning and offensiveness depending on who is observing them.
* Yid

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kike — (k[imac]k), v. i. [Cf. D. kijken, Sw. kika.] To gaze; to stare. [Obs.] Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Kike — (k[i^]k), v. t. & i. To kick. [Obs.] Chaucer …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • kike — (k[imac]k), n. A derogatory name for a jew, usually intended and taken as disparaging and offensive. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Kike — Kike, s. Feuergieke …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • kike — [kaık] n taboo [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: Probably from kiki, from ki, common ending of names of Jews from countries in Eastern Europe] a very offensive word for someone who is Jewish. Do not use this word …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • kike — (n.) derogatory slang for a Jew, by 1901, American English; early evidence supports the belief that it was used at first among German American Jews in reference to newcomers from Eastern Europe, perhaps because the names of the latter ended in ki …   Etymology dictionary

  • kike — [kīk] n. [orig. uncert.] Slang a Jew: a hostile and offensive term …   English World dictionary

  • kike —    An extremely offensive way of referring to or addressing a Jew. The term is used far more in the USA than Britain, and is of obscure origin. Leo Rosten, in The Joys of Yiddish, derives it from Yiddish kikel, ‘circle’. because illiterate Jewish …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • kike — Kyke Kyke, v. i. [See 1st {Kike}.] To look steadfastly; to gaze. [Obs.] [Written also {kike}, {keke}.] [1913 Webster] This Nicholas sat ever gaping upright, As he had kyked on the newe moon. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Kike — Recorded in several spelling forms including Kick, Kike, Kikke, and Kix, this unusual name is English, and of Yorkshire origin. It is a locational or topographical surname from residence by one of the two Kex rivers in West Yorkshire. The first… …   Surnames reference

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