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Goy (גּוֹי) is the Hebrew word for "nation" (plural goyim, גּוֹיִים), and it appears numerous times in the Bible, usually in the phrase "goy kadosh", which directly translates to "holy nation". In modern context, however, it is used to refer to anyone who is not Jewish. While Jewish people in the Diaspora often use the term in a frivolous manner, the term is often employed by cranks, antisemites, and conspiracy theorists in order to make Jewish people sound racist. Among Hebrew and Yiddish speakers, the term is standard for referring to non-Jews, and has no racist or xenophobic connotations. It is often considered derogatory among English speakers, and the term "gentile" or simply "non-Jew" is employed instead.

If someone uses the term "goy" in an argument having to do with the Federal Reserve, Israel, Zionism, or any other possible crank magnet, chances are you are arguing with a racist lunatic and it is not worth continuing.[1]

There is a recurring canard among conspiracy theorists and antisemites alike that the term "goyim" means "cattle" in Hebrew.[2][3] However, the term is actually, as mentioned above, a Hebrew term for "nation", including that of Israel.[4] The Hebrew word for "cattle" is "bakar" (בָּקָר).

The term "shabbos goy" refers to a non-Jew who does work for Jews that Jews are otherwise not allowed to do during the sabbath due to religious restrictions. The term is also often used by antisemites to refer to people who are alleged to be doing the "dirty work" for the Jews.

See also[edit]


  1. Bonus points for each use of the old anti-semitic cliche, "Oy vey, the goyim know, shut it down!"
  2. "Is Israel a Racist Nation?".
  3. "Jewish Talmudic Quotes - Facts Are Facts".
  4. James OrrWikipedia's W.svg, ed (1939). "Goiim". Grand RapidsWikipedia's W.svg: William B. Eerdmans Publishing CompanyWikipedia's W.svg.