yetzer hara

Alternative Spellings

yeytser hore


  • Lit. 'the evil inclination'

Example Sentences

  • "The yetzer hara is particularly strong during thesis work." (A thesis advisor in regard to working on one's thesis)
  • "The yetzer tov is good, but the yetzer hara is very good, because without it a man wouldn't marry, procreate or go into business." Talmud Ber 61b.

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew


יצר הרע

Who Uses This

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


North America


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).


Commonly used to refer to sexual urges.

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