The Jewish Language Project is proud to announce that we are adding pronunciation recordings to all entries, based on the requests of many visitors. We invite you to support this important initiative by donating funds, volunteering to record entries, and sharing the crowdfunding campaign:
Help Newcomers Pronounce Jewish Words!
If we meet our fundraising goal by May 3, you can expect to see - and hear! - the pronunciations on this site by late June.

shvartsa

Alternative Spellings

shvartze, shvartza, shvartsa, schwarze

Definitions

  • black person, [lit. "black"].

Example Sentences

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

Languages of Origin

Yiddish

Etymology

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

Regions

North America

Dictionaries

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

Notes

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).

Edit     See something you disagree with? Feel free to edit it. All changes will be moderated.