Alternative Spellings



  • the deep-fried chick pea ball itself
  • a Middle Eastern sandwich featuring a deep-fried ball made of chick peas and spices inside pita bread, often served with other vegetables, hummus, and techina

Example Sentences

  • I'm going to grab falafel for lunch.

Languages of Origin

Modern Hebrew, Arabic


פלאפל, from the Arabic فلافل‎ falāfil 'lit., peppers'

Who Uses This

Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)


As the first definition states, "falafel" can refer to the sandwich; among those for whom "falafel" is merely the ball, the term "falafel sandwich" is sometimes used.

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