Purim spiel


Purim spiel (POOR-ihm SHPEEL) listen


  • n. A specific humorous skit or play using themes or base storyline of the book of Esther in honor of the holiday of Purim, but often including jokes or settings relevant to the local community or current events; in short, "a satiric Purim play" (Steinmetz, Dictionary of Jewish Usage).

Example Sentences

  • "Temple Rodef Shalom has a tradition of employing Broadway shows, pop songs, and humor to create show-stopping versions of the Purim Spiel." (source)

  • "In this year's Purim shpiel, the rabbi of the shul acted as the President, making fun of him by making him seem like Achashveirosh [the king in the Purim story]."

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • Yid. פּורימשפּיל/פּורים־שפּיל purimshpil 'Purim play', from פּורים purim 'Purim' + שפּיל shpil 'performance, show'

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements


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


      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      Purim shpil, Purim shpiel, Purimspiel


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