kosher

Alternative Spellings

kasher

Definitions

  • "acceptable according to Jewish [ritual] law" (JPS); "trustworthy, reliable" (Rosten); acceptable according to dietary laws

Example Sentences

  • "The kosher chicken is more expensive." "It's a kosher mezuzah." "It's kosher with me." (Response upon asking to miss a class and making up work)

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, Yiddish

Etymology

Heb כשר kashér, Yiddish/Ashkenazi Hebrew כּשר kósher

Who Uses This

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

Regions

North America, Great Britain

Dictionaries

The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
JPS: The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)

Notes

According to Gold, the pronunciation of kosher in American English is influenced by the [ow] vowel of "American Western Ashkenazic English," which was spoken by Jews from Germany and/or other western parts of Ashkenaz after immigration to the United States (David Gold, "Jewish English," in J. A. Fishman (ed.), Readings in the Sociology of Jewish Languages. Leiden: Brill. 280-298). British Jewish English uses the [ɔ] vowel from Northeastern Yiddish.

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