plural goyim ˈgȯi-əm How to pronounce goy (audio) also goys
sometimes disparaging
: a non-Jewish person : gentile sense 1
Our rabbi … used to tell us not to let the goyim, those people outside the invisible wall, know if we had any differences among ourselves.Nat Hentoff
… what we Jews call Torah and goys call the Old Testament …Robert Little
goyish adjective sometimes disparaging
Jewish or goyish was the grand bifurcation of the universe. If, on rare occasion, my parent uttered a sentence that did not contain the word "Jewish," odds were it contained "goyish" instead. Aaron Lansky
"What kind of a name is Rosemary?" asked one of the girls … "It is a goyish name … Do you mean to say your best friend is not a Jew?" Jane Yolen
goyishness noun sometimes disparaging
Renee is a lapsed Orthodox Jew trying to embrace the life of the mind amid the "genteel goyishness" of Princeton. Frances Taliaferro

Word History


Yiddish, from Hebrew gōy people, nation

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of goy was in 1841

Dictionary Entries Near goy

Cite this Entry

“Goy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!