chacham (khah-KHAM) listen
chacham (KHUH-khuhm) listen


  • n. (Sephardi) A rabbi.

  • n. A wise, learned person; a genius.

  • n. A wiseguy.

Example Sentences

  • "Chacham (Sephardic equivalent of 'Rabbi') Yosef Chaim, known as the 'Ben Ish Chai,' became the Rav of Baghdad at the age of twenty-five, in the year 5619 (1859), the year following the death of his father, Chacham Rav Eliyahu." (source)

  • "Every chacham deserves kavod." (Weiser)

  • "Chacham! Where did you learn how to weld?!"

  • "So you thought you could fix it then, did you, chochem?" (Glinert)

  • "That guy is quite a chacham, getting all those credit cards with no credit history." (Weiser)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish
  • Ladino


  • TH חכם khakhám > Y חכם khókhem 'wise man; ironic: a fool', L חכם hacham 'teacher, rabbinic leader'

    • Who Uses This

      • Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage
      • Sephardim: Jews with Sephardi or Mizrahi heritage


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish, by Chaim Weiser (Northvale, 1995).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      khokhem, chocham, chochem, hacham, haham, chuchum, chochem, chochm


  • plural: 'khakhomim' or 'khakhamim'

    See also chochmah.

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