• n. A clay creature in Jewish folklore made into the form of a human and given life.

  • n. A robot.

  • n. A fool; clumsy person.

Example Sentences

  • "Early on, the idea developed that the main disability of the golem was its inability to speak."

  • “He is as slow-witted as a golem." (NJY)

  • “He walks like a golem." (NJY)

  • "Granovsky has no arms. He is another 'kalike,' even worse off than Lissitzky. But being without hands entirely not only means that he is unsuccessful, but that he is a 'goylem,' a dummy." (source)

  • "I give up on him—he's a complete and utter golem," (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • TH גולם golem 'amorphous mass, form' > גולם goylem 'dummy; fool'

    • Who Uses This

      • Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi heritage


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • 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).
      • Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish, by Chaim Weiser (Northvale, 1995).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      goylem, goilem


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