bageling (BAY-guh-leeng) listen


  • n. The act of trying to guess whether someone in your presence is Jewish or letting someone who appears to be Jewish know that you are too in a way that will avoid embarrassment if you’re wrong.

  • n. The act of inserting a Jewish phrase or concept into a conversation in order to indicate that one is Jewish or to determine whether the other person is Jewish.

  • n. The identification of another person as a Jew.

Example Sentences

  • "I suspect that Jews have been bageling even before real bagels were invented." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • English
  • Yiddish


  • derived from Yiddish בײגל beygl (see bagel)

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
      • Younger: Jews in their 30s or younger


      • North America
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • None

      Alternative Spellings

      beigeling, beygeling


  • See also bagel.

    Doodie Miller, former Director of Operations at YU's University School Partnership, takes credit for inventing the term and maintains a web site about the concept, "The Bagel Theory" (source). Writer Jessica Levine Kupferberg popularized the concept in an article for "j. weekly" (source), in which she credited Miller. "Bageling" is also used in several other ways: to describe stockings (especially nylon panty hose) falling in circles around someone's ankles; a Japanese fad involving facial modification; the act of shopping for bagels or discussing the art of bagel making; in tennis, to be bageled is to lose a match without winning a game.

    You might, for example, bagel someone by suddenly clapping your hand to your cheek, as if you had just remembered something distressing, and saying, “Oy vey!” The bageled person might then say: A) “Oy vey is right — you don’t know what happened to me today” (mission accomplished); B) “Excuse me, but what did you say?” (To which you might answer, “Oh, I was just trying to remember the name of my mother-in-law’s dentist.”); C) nothing at all. Answer C would not definitely establish, of course, that you’re not talking to a Jew, but it would be a pretty good indication that if you are, he or she doesn’t think it’s any of your business.

    Simply stepping up to people on the street and asking them if they’re Jewish, as Chabad mitzvah peddlers often do, is thus not bageling at all in the true sense of the word. It’s far too direct.

    Read more below here: (source)

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