Borscht Belt

Alternative Spellings

Borsht Belt


  • region in the Catskill Mountains with many summer resorts frequented by Jews, especially in the mid twentieth century

Example Sentences

  • That's such Borscht Belt humor!

Languages of Origin

Yiddish, English


Yiddish באָרשט borsht 'beetroot soup,' which may be a reference to the kosher food commonly served in the resorts; for English "Belt," cf. American English regions "Rust Belt" or "Sun Belt"

Who Uses This

Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)
Ethnic: Jews whose Jewish identity is primarily ethnic




The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)


The "Borsht Belt" frequently refers to the tour of such facilities that entertainers, especially comedians, underwent. According to Steinmetz ("Yiddish and English," p. 53) the term "borsht circuit" was also used.

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