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kike

[kahyk]
noun Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person of Jewish religion or descent.
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Origin of kike

First recorded in 1900–05; of obscure origin; the popular belief that it derives from a Yiddish word for “circle” is dubious
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for kikes

kike

noun
  1. US and Canadian slang an offensive word for Jew
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Word Origin for kike

C20: probably variant of kiki, reduplication of -ki, common name-ending among Jews from Slavic countries
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 kikes

kike

n.

derogatory slang for "a Jew," by 1901, American English; early evidence supports the belief that it was used at first among German-American Jews in reference to newcomers from Eastern Europe, perhaps because the names of the latter ended in -ki or -ky.

There is no charity organization of any kind here [a small city in Pennsylvania] and, what is sadder to relate, the Jews in this city will not form one; that is, if the present temper of the people can be used as a criterion. The German Jews are bitterly opposed to the "Kikes," as they persist in calling the Russian Jews .... ["Report of the National Conference of Jewish Charities in the United States," Cleveland, 1912]

Philip Cowen, first editor of "The American Hebrew," suggests a source in Yiddish kikel "circle." According to him, Jewish immigrants, ignorant of writing with the Latin alphabet, signed their entry forms with a circle, eschewing the "X" as a sign of Christianity. On this theory, Ellis Island immigration inspectors began calling such people kikels, and the term shortened as it passed into general use.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper