For Dutch teens, ‘Jew’ the new ‘cool’
search
Tribe me

For Dutch teens, ‘Jew’ the new ‘cool’

Netherlands high school students found by linguist to be using moniker ‘jood’ as synonym for ‘awesome’

Cool Jew (Orthodox man image via Shutterstock)
Cool Jew (Orthodox man image via Shutterstock)

THE HAGUE (JTA) — Dutch teenagers are using “Jew” akin to “cool” or “awesome” in English, according to a linguist from Leiden University.

Professor Marc van Oostendorp wrote Monday on his blog that he heard the new usage of the word “jood” (pronounced “yode”) at a high school in Leiden shortly after learning about the phenomenon from an online forum about the Dutch language.

“One is at first unsettled by it. The word ‘Jew’ is still a slightly sensitive issue if used improperly,” Van Oostendorp wrote, adding an example of how soccer fans use it as a pejorative.

Van Oostendorp notes that Dutch already has one positive exclamation connected to Judaism in “tof,” which was borrowed from Yiddish and means “good,” but he writes that “it’s not clear if those two are connected. I don’t believe too many people are aware of the etymology.”

He notes that “the ideal word to express teenage enthusiasm would make parents raise their eyebrows” but would not invoke disciplinary intervention.

“The word ‘Jew’ is apparently suitable in that regard,” Van Oostendorp wrote.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments