Gehenom (geh-HEH-num) listen
Gehenom (ge-heh-NOME) listen


  • n. A temporary place one's soul goes after death, for atonement, before reuniting with God.

  • n. (metaphoric) Hell.

Example Sentences

  • "Gehenom is very different from the popular image of Hell."

  • "This temporary place of atonement is called Gehenom, and lasts for 11 or 12 months after someone passes away" (source).

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • TH גהנם gehenom, potentially from a valley in Jerusalem called Genenna, an area south of Jerusalem where children were reputed to have been sacrificed to the idol Moloch and therefore regarded as accursed and evil > Y גיהנום genem 'hell'

    • Who Uses This

      • Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi 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 JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).

      Alternative Spellings

      Gehinom, Gehinnom, Gihinnom, Gihennom, Gehennom, Geheynom, Gehenna, Geihinnom, Geihinom, Gehenem, Genem, Gennem, Gehenm

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