ghattis

Alternative Spellings

chatis, khates, chates, ghattes, khatas, gatis, gattis, chattis

Definitions

  • derogatory term for working-class or boorish Afrikaaner person

Example Sentences

  • Look at that bunch of khateysim over there. What are they doing here?

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, Yiddish, Afrikaans

Etymology

Afrikaans gat ('hole, anus') and Yiddish/Hebrew khates ('sins'), as in the phrase khates-neurim ('sins of youth'). This phono-semantic matching / wordplay seems to be aided by the co-occurrence of the word "khet" with the Hebrew word "bor," which sounds similar to Boer, the Afrikaans word for farmer/peasant. As Michael Wex writes: "Khatas derives from the Hebrew khet, a sin, and means sin-offering, a sort of kapore sacrifice. Khatas retains this meaning in Yiddish, where it acquires the additional, and more common, sense of sinner or rogue. There is a well-known line in the Mishnaic tractate Avos, which every Orthodox male studies every Saturday between Passover and Rosh Hashana: "Eyn bor yerey khet, a bor [uncouth ignoramus] is not afraid of sin. The coincidence of sound was too much to ignore" (Born to Kvetch, 87).

Who Uses This

Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older

Regions

South Africa

Dictionaries

None

Notes

Plural khateysim / ghatesim.

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