1. fit or allowed to be eaten or used, according to the dietary or ceremonial laws: kosher meat; kosher dishes; a kosher tallith.
  2. adhering to the laws governing such fitness: a kosher restaurant.
  1. proper; legitimate.
  2. genuine; authentic.


Informal. kosher food: Let's eat kosher tonight.

verb (used with object)

Judaism. to make kosher: to kosher meat by salting.


    keep kosher, to adhere to the dietary laws of Judaism.
Also kasher.

Origin of kosher

1850–55; 1920–25 for def 2; < Yiddish < Hebrew kāshēr right, fit
Related formsnon·ko·sher, adjective, nounun·ko·sher, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kosher

Contemporary Examples of kosher

Historical Examples of kosher

  • At the best there would be no kosher food in the house any more.

    Ghetto Comedies

    Israel Zangwill

  • Show a treif gendarme a kosher coin, and he will be shivering with ague.

  • In Ramsgate I enjoy myself; there's a kosher butcher, and all the people I know.

    Ghetto Tragedies

    Israel Zangwill

  • The same way with the kosher meat idea: his business was the packing business, and the firm wasn't trying any ventures.

  • The next time I saw the manager I asked him about sausage and kosher meat, and he scowled.

British Dictionary definitions for kosher



Judaism conforming to religious law; fit for use: esp, (of food) prepared in accordance with the dietary lawsSee also kasher, kashruth
  1. genuine or authentic
  2. legitimate or proper

Word Origin for kosher

C19: from Yiddish, from Hebrew kāshēr right, proper
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 kosher

"ritually fit or pure" (especially of food), 1851, from Yiddish kosher, from Hebrew kasher "fit, proper, lawful," from base of kasher "was suitable, proper." Generalized sense of "correct, legitimate" is from 1896.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

kosher in Culture


Food that is permitted according to a set of dietary restrictions found in the Old Testament. For many Jews (see also Jews), foods that are not kosher cannot be eaten. The term can also be used colloquially to mean anything acceptable: “I don't think it's kosher to yell at your chess opponent when he is thinking about his next move.”


The descriptive term in Judaism for food and other objects that are clean according to its laws. These laws are contained in the Torah and forbid, for example, the eating of pork or shellfish, the mixing of dairy products and meat, and certain methods of slaughtering animals.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.