• n. From Yiddish literature/folklore, "The 'legendary' town inhabited by befuddled, stupid, foolish, but endearing people." (JPS). Also a real town in Poland (Chelmno).

Example Sentences

  • "One Jewish Chelm resident bought a fish on Friday to serve on the Sabbath. He put the live fish underneath his coat and the fish slapped his face with his tail. He went to the Chelm court to submit a charge, and the court sentenced the fish to death by drowning."

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • כעל(ע)ם

    • Who Uses This

      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).

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