- 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
(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.