Alternative Spellings

beigeling, beygeling, bagelling


  • 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.
  • Identifying another person as a Jew.

Example Sentences

  • "I thought my seatmate might be Jewish, so I bagelled him by asking if he was headed home for the hagim."
  • "Will got bageled at the doctor's office; the doctor said that she was taking Rosh haShanah off, too."

Languages of Origin

Yiddish, English


derived from Yiddish בײגל beygl (see "bagel" entry)

Who Uses This

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


North America




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" ( Writer Jessica Levine Kupferberg popularized the concept in an article for "j. weekly" (, 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.

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