• n. A thief.

  • n. A clever trickster.

Example Sentences

  • "That lousy gonef. I turned around and my sandwich was gone!"

  • “A ganef like that shouldn’t be allowed among respectable citizens." (NJY)

  • “That one is, plain and simple, a ganef." (NJY)

  • "When I saw EMS wasn’t coming I was going to call Hatzoloh until I realized it was staged and the ganovim behind the accident would have sued the Hatzoloh responder too" (source)

  • "Take your hands out of the cookie jar, you little ganav." (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • TH גנב ganáv > Y גנבֿ gánef (pl. גנבֿים ganóvim)

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa


      • 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 Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      gannif, ganif, gonnif, gonef, ganev, ganef, ganav, ganov, gonnif, gonof


Edit     Something missing from this entry? Inaccurate? Feel free to suggest an edit.