"jew" as adjective -- not in OED?

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue May 14 14:37:21 UTC 2013

Seems strange, but such is the case, if the on-line OED doesn't mislead me.

            JEW BEEF. -- The subscribers offer their services to merchants
who are in the habit of trading to the West Indies, that in order to
complete a well assorted cargo for those markets, it will prove to be an
acquisition to apply to them for the above article; they are in 5 or 10
gallon kegs.  ***  Levy & Lyons, 26, White-hall street. N. B.  Regular
certificates will be given.
            Mercantile Advertiser, November 1, 1804, p. 2, col. 2

HDAS and Jonathon Green's dictionary have "jew" as a disparaging adjective,
which isn't the case here.  Their examples are generally in the form of "a
Jew xyz" which translates into "a Jew who is an xyz" -- a Jew lawyer,
perhaps.  Here, it meant "kosher", and the ad was placed by a Jewish firm.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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