\ ˈgȯi How to pronounce goy (audio) \
plural goyim\ ˈgȯi-​əm How to pronounce goy (audio) \ also goys

Definition of goy

sometimes disparaging
: a non-Jewish person : gentile sense 1 "You were my uncle," Duddy shouted, "and I thought it was the right thing to tell you the goy was stealing from you."— Mordecai Richler In the Yiddish-speaking world of the Lower East Side, with its all-Jewish streets and all-Jewish schools, it was possible to regard the goyim as unmarriageable aliens.— Jonathan Raban 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

Other Words from goy

goyish \ ˈgȯi-​ish How to pronounce goy (audio) \ 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

First Known Use of goy

1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for goy

Yiddish, from Hebrew gōy people, nation

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about goy

Statistics for goy

Cite this Entry

“Goy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goy. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Comments on goy

What made you want to look up goy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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