balebos (bah-leh-BUHS) listen


  • n. Male head of a household.

  • n. Proprietor, boss.

Example Sentences

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

  • "A lot of balebatim in this neighborhood are against the new mall." (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • TH בעל-הבית ba'al habayit > Yid בעל-הבית balebos (pl. baletosim/balebatim)

    • Who Uses This

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


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


      • 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).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      baleboss, balaboss, baalaboss, balebos, ba'al ha-bayit


  • 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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