kib·​butz | \ ki-ˈbu̇ts How to pronounce kibbutz (audio) , -ˈbüts How to pronounce kibbutz (audio) \
plural kibbutzim\ ki-​ˌbu̇t-​ˈsēm How to pronounce kibbutz (audio) , -​ˌbüt-​ \

Definition of kibbutz

: a communal farm or settlement in Israel

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A kibbutz is a communal settlement in Israel in which all wealth is held in common and profits are reinvested in the settlement. The first kibbutz was founded in 1909; currently there are about 270, with a total population exceeding 120,000. Adults live in private quarters, while children are generally housed and cared for as a group. Meals are prepared and eaten communally. Members have regular meetings to discuss business and to take votes on matters requiring decisions. Jobs may be assigned by rotation, by choice, or by skill.

Examples of kibbutz in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An op-ed in a kibbutz newspaper demanded to know how Israeli mothers could allow their children to be needlessly sacrificed in a futile war. Peter Keough,, "In Focus: This year’s Boston Israeli Film Festival looks at war and peace," 4 Mar. 2021 The next year the Hillels moved to Israel, where Shlomo attended Hebrew University before becoming a co-founder of Maagan Michael, a kibbutz in northern Israel. New York Times, "Shlomo Hillel, Who Helped 120,000 Jews Flee Iraq, Dies at 97," 21 Feb. 2021 Stranded at her mother’s house on a kibbutz, she wasn’t allowed to leave the area. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "This Swimwear Label Became So Popular Off the Beach, It Launched Knits," 16 Dec. 2020 The kibbutz where Bernie Sanders would volunteer during the following decade was among that group. Ben Sales,, "Yair Netanyahu compares Israeli kibbutz movement to Nazi Germany," 18 Nov. 2020 The seeds were soaked in water, supplemented with hormones that encourage germination and rooting, and planted at a kibbutz in southern Israel. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "Scientists Grew Palm Trees From 2,000-Year-Old Seeds," 7 Feb. 2020 In the weeks before my visit, rainstorms had swept through the country, leaving the team of thirty excavators, most of them fresh-faced students from Australia’s Macquarie University, to sit idle for days at a nearby kibbutz. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, "In Search of King David’s Lost Empire," 22 June 2020 There would be rotating responsibilities, but also necessary professionals — an arrangement comparable to the Israeli kibbutz. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "New revelations tell why a socialist commune failed in Dallas. (Hint: it wasn’t the socialism)," 15 Apr. 2020 His experience working on a kibbutz is framed as a lesson in socialism, not in ethnic solidarity. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "An Outside Chance," 12 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kibbutz.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of kibbutz

1926, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kibbutz

Modern Hebrew qibbūṣ

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Time Traveler for kibbutz

Time Traveler

The first known use of kibbutz was in 1926

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Statistics for kibbutz

Last Updated

8 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Kibbutz.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of kibbutz

: a farm in Israel on which a group of people live and work together

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Nglish: Translation of kibbutz for Spanish Speakers

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