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Related to gonif: goniff, goyim


Variant of ganef.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈgɑ nəf)

also gonif

n. Slang.
a thief, swindler, crook, or rascal.
[1920–25; < Yiddish < Hebrew gannābh]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.gonif - (Yiddish) a thief or dishonest person or scoundrel (often used as a general term of abuse)
Yiddish - a dialect of High German including some Hebrew and other words; spoken in Europe as a vernacular by many Jews; written in the Hebrew script
offender, wrongdoer - a person who transgresses moral or civil law
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
(Was that even a pun?) Jewish culture has always been rife with precisely the type of archetypes Sherman has interrogated; not for nothing does Tevye introduce the villagers of Anatevka each as their own special "types." From the shtetl we inherited the yenta, the yeshiva bucher, the gonif, the shtarker; the postwar era gave American Jews self-hating punchlines like the JAP and the nebbish; the Soviet Union had its "Rabinovich" jokes and Israel its brash "muscle Jews" who know how to clean a gun and never saw a line they didn't want to push to the front of.
But closest to her heart is Dave at Night, published in 1999, about a boy living in a Hebrew orphanage in New York City who runs away one night and finds new friends at a Harlem "rent party"--a rich African American girl named Irma Lee and an old Jewish gonif [thief] with a good heart.
For many, however, the memories of the old country were timeless, necessary antidotes to the confusion wrought by "America gonif." On stage, occasionally on screen, often on records, and increasingly at home, these songs were sung and played so that they became the popular expression of a collective nostalgia.