keinehora

Alternative Spellings

kine-ahora, keineinehora, kanehore, keyn ayin hara, kaynahara, kein ayin hara, canary

Definitions

  • "no evil eye" (Rosten). "An expression said to ward off the evil eye or bad luck in general; the verbal equivalent of knocking on wood." (JPS)

Example Sentences

  • He's eighty-seven years old, keinehora.
  • Your daughter has grown up to be so beautiful, kein ayin hara.
  • Did you have to say that? Don't give me a canary.

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, Yiddish

Etymology

Yiddish קײן עין־הרע ke(y)n eyn(h)óre/ayen-hóre 'no Evil Eye, knock on wood!'

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

Regions

North America

Dictionaries

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)

Notes

This phrase is used after giving someone praise to wish that the Evil Eye does not happen upon them. The equivalent Hebrew phrase is בלי עין הרע bli ayin hara (which is defined in Glinert, The Joys of Hebrew). The phrase is used primarily by older Ashkenazim of all religious backgrounds and Orthodox Ashkenazim of all ages. The word "canary" is sometimes used as a slang contraction (Eisenberg and Scolnic, The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words).

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