Alternative Spellings

balebos, baalaboss, balaboss, baleboss


  • Male head of a household
  • Proprietor

Example Sentences

  • "We should let the balabos decide what song to sing."

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, Yiddish


Heb/Yiddish בעל־הבית bal(e)bós 'owner/master of the house', plural בעלי־הבתּים bal(e)bátim (also spelled באַלעבאַטים, באַלעבאָס)

Who Uses This

Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


North America


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


Used in the plural ("balabatim" or "balabosim") to refer to the regular folk of the community, or sometimes to congregants/non-clergy, sometimes derogatorily. Example: "The balabatim don't want a long analysis of the sugya; they want a nice, inspiring dvar Torah."

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