tznius (TZNEE-yiss) listen
tzniut (tznee-YOOT) listen


  • n. Modesty, discretion, especially according to Orthodox norms of dress, comportment, and gender interaction.

  • adj. Of or related to modesty, especially according to Orthodox norms of dress, comportment, and gender interaction.

Example Sentences

  • "Classes will cover human anatomy, sexual orientation, body image, STDs, sexual abuse, sexual ethics, tzniut and the Jewish laws concerning physical contact and sexuality." (from an article in Lilith magazine)

  • “He explained to his son that wearing the beach shirt to shul would not be tsnius.”

  • "The Rabbonim claimed that the fact that men and women might sit together was a tznius issue, so they banned the event."

  • "It's not tznius for the woman to speak at the table in mixed company."

  • "They closed down the clothing store because their advertising wasn't tznius."

  • "They don't want the guys or girls to wear shorts at prayers, because of tseniut." (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • TH צניעות > Y צניעות tsnies

    • Who Uses This

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


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


      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).

      Alternative Spellings

      tsnies, tsnius, tsniut, tzniut, tseniut, tzeniut, tzenius


  • According to standard Hebrew and Yiddish grammar, "tsnius” is the noun form and "tsanua" (Hebrew) or "tsniesdik" (Yiddish) are the adjective forms. Even so, many Jewish English speakers use "tsnius" as an adjective. The definition of "tsnius" is changing and becoming more stringent in Orthodox, especially Haredi, circles. In recent years the notion of tznius has increasingly been applied to complete separation of males and females and to the avoidance of any pictorial representation of the female face.

    One user reports that the word can be combined with the English morphemes "-able" and "-un", creating "untsniufiable," meaning it is impossible to be made tsnius or tsniusdik, as in "That children's book had so many pictures of people in bathing suits, it was untsniufiable!"

    See also tsniusdik.

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