• n. Derogatory term for working-class or boorish Afrikaaner person.

Example Sentences

  • "Look at that bunch of khateysim over there. What are they doing here?"

    Listen to recordings of this sentence: ( Recording 1)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • Afrikaans gat ('hole, anus') and Yiddish/Hebrew khates ('sins'), as in the phrase khates-neurim ('sins of youth').

    • Who Uses This

      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older


      • South Africa


      • None

      Alternative Spellings

      chatis, khates, chates, ghattes, khatas, gatis, gattis, chattis


  • Plural khateysim / ghatesim. The phono-semantic matching / wordplay seems to be aided by the co-occurrence of the word "khet" with the Hebrew word "bor," which sounds similar to 'boer', the Afrikaans word for farmer/peasant. As Michael Wex writes: "Khatas derives from the Hebrew khet, a sin, and means sin-offering, a sort of kapore sacrifice. Khatas retains this meaning in Yiddish, where it acquires the additional, and more common, sense of sinner or rogue. There is a well-known line in the Mishnaic tractate Avos, which every Orthodox male studies every Saturday between Passover and Rosh Hashana: "Eyn bor yerey khet, a bor [uncouth ignoramus] is not afraid of sin. The coincidence of sound was too much to ignore" (Born to Kvetch, 87).

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