[ ahsh-kuh-nah-zim ]
/ ˌɑʃ kəˈnɑ zɪm /

plural noun, singular Ash·ke·naz·i [ahsh-kuh-nah-zee] /ˌɑʃ kəˈnɑ zi/.

Jews of central and eastern Europe, or their descendants, distinguished from the Sephardim chiefly by their liturgy, religious customs, and pronunciation of Hebrew.

Origin of Ashkenazim

1830–40; < post-Biblical Hebrew ashkənazzīm, plural of ashkənazzī, equivalent to ashkənaz Ashkenaz + suffix of appurtenance
Related formsAsh·ke·naz·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for ashkenazi


/ (ˌæʃkəˈnɑːzɪ) /

noun plural -zim (-zɪm)

(modifier) of or relating to the Jews of Germany and E Europe
a Jew of German or E European descent
the pronunciation of Hebrew used by these Jews
Compare Sephardi

Word Origin for Ashkenazi

C19: Late Hebrew, from Hebrew Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer (Genesis 10:3; I Chronicles 1:6), a descendant of Noah through Japheth, and hence taken to be identified with the ancient Ascanians of Phrygia and, in the medieval period, the Germans
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ashkenazi



(plural) "central and northern European Jews" (as opposed to Sephardim, Jews of Spain and Portugal), 1839, from Hebrew Ashkenazzim, plural of Ashkenaz, eldest son of Gomer (Gen. x:3), also the name of a people mentioned in Jer. li:27 (perhaps akin to Greek skythoi "Scythians," cf. Akkadian ishkuzai); identified historically with various people; in Middle Ages, with the Germans.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper