kapara (kah-PAH-rah) listen


  • n. (term of endearment) Sweetie.

  • n. The sacrificial chicken swung above one's head on Yom Kippur so his sins can be transferred to the chicken which is then sacrificed.

  • interj. An interjection uttered after a minor mishap, meaning that it should be atonement for one's sins.

  • n. Atonement, punishment for one's sins.

  • n. A scapegoat.

  • interj. (sometimes preceded by 'a') An expression of frustrated dismissal of something; to hell with.

Example Sentences

  • "What's wrong, kapara?"

  • "We were set upon by a swarm of angry bees on the last afternoon of the hike. We were each stung multiple times... his first reaction after we outran them was 'kapparah!' It was a few weeks before Rosh Hashanah and I told him his words were doubly appropriate."

  • “A kapore on the car; just so no one was hurt!" (NJY)

Languages of Origin

  • Arabic / Judeo-Arabic
  • Ladino
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Textual Hebrew


  • sense 1: TH > JA כפרה / كپّارة kumpāra > MH כַּפָּרָה kapára
    sense 2, 4, 6: TH > MH כַּפָּרָה kapará
    senses 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: TH > Y כּפּרה kapore
    senses 2, 3, 4: TH > L kapara

    • Who Uses This

      • Israel: Diaspora Jews who feel connected to Israel and have spent time there
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage
      • Sephardim: Jews with Sephardi or Mizrahi heritage


      • North America


      • 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).

      Alternative Spellings

      kappara, kaparah, kapparah, kaporeh, kapore, kapora, kaporah


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