• n. A boiled, baked ring-shaped bread product.

Example Sentences

  • "They served lox and bagels for breakfast after davening."

Languages of Origin

  • Yiddish


  • בײגל beygl, related to Yiddish root בײג beyg 'bend, curve'

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


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


      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      beygl, beigel


  • Plural "bagels," although the original Yiddish plural is beygl (same as singular).

    The Yiddish word beygl probably comes from Early New High German beugel, meaning pretzel.

    South African alternative definition: A materialistic, selfish young Jewish man, like American English JAP (source).

    See also bageling (bagel v.).

    Originally bagels were harder and denser and had a much larger hole. They changed in New York in the 1920s and came to be served with cream cheese and lox as a sign of upward mobility. See more at:
    Marx, Jeffrey A. 2017. “Eating Up: The Origins of Bagels and Lox.” In Tastes of Faith: Jewish Eating in the United States, edited by Steven J. Ross, Leah Hochman, and Lisa Ansell. Purdue University Press. 77–114.
    Gastropod. 2019. “The Bagelization of America.” Podcast.

Edit     Something missing from this entry? Inaccurate? Feel free to suggest an edit.