batlan (BAHT-luhn) listen


  • n. "Someone without a trade or regular means of livelihood" (Rosten).

  • n. "An unemployed or lazy man" (Rosten).

  • n. "A misfit, such as a Talmud student of no promise" (Rosten).

  • n. "Someone with intellectual pretensions and half-baked ideas" (Rosten).

  • n. "naive, impractical person" (Steinmetz)

  • n. "Layabout" (Glinert)

  • n. "One who consistently wastes time: Bum, Fainéant" (Weiser).

Example Sentences

  • "That doctor treated me like a batlen and won't tell me a thing!" (Rosten)

  • "The Talmud says that every Jewish community must contain ten batlonim—that is, ten men who, since they do not work, can devote all their time to prayer and study." (Rosten)

  • "If you ask me, the whole board should resign—they're a bunch of batlanim." (Glinert)

  • "They didn't let him stay in the Yeshiva because he was, plain and poshut, a batlan." (Weiser)

    Listen to recordings of this sentence: ( Recording 1)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • Yiddish בטלן batlen, from Hebrew בטל batel 'nullify'

    • Who Uses This

      • Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
      • Ashkenazim: Jews with Ashkenazi 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).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Frumspeak: The First Dictionary of Yeshivish, by Chaim Weiser (Northvale, 1995).

      Alternative Spellings

      batlen, botlan, botlen, batlanim, batlonim, batlonem


  • sg. batlan, pl. batlanim

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