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Alternative Spellings

shvartze, shvartza, shvartsa, schwarze


  • black person, [lit. "black"].

Example Sentences

  • "She's dating a shvartse. Her grandmother is probably rolling over in her grave."

Languages of Origin



שװאַרץ shvarts 'black', (שװאַרצער shvartser is masculine, singular, nominative; שװאַרצע shvartse is feminine singular or plural for all genders; Jewish English can use -e ending regardless of gender)

Who Uses This

Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
Older: Jews who are middle-aged and older


North America


The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).


Often considered offensive in English because of its usage (sometimes) as a racist slur equivalent to the n-word by people whose primary language is not Yiddish. Outside of conversation between Yiddish speakers, the word is seldom used neutrally. Sometimes used by Haredim in Israel to refer to other Haredim (because of the men's black suits and black hats).

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