Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. In Jewish folklore, the wandering soul of a dead person that enters the body of a living person and controls his or her behavior.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A malicious possessing spirit, believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. the wandering soul of a dead person, or a demon, that enters the body of a living person and controls that body's behavior. It may be exorcised by religious rites.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Jewish folklore) a demon that enters the body of a living person and controls that body's behavior

Etymologies

Yiddish dibek, from Hebrew dibbūq, probably from dābaq, to cling; see dbq in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Yiddish, from Hebrew דבק (dovek, "cling"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The wife replies that her husband is mistaken, the relative has been dead for three years, and what her husband saw was a dybbuk a Yiddish word used in this context to mean “evil spirit”.

    A SERIOUS MAN Review – Collider.com

  • The surname, Dibbuk, refers to the Yiddish word dybbuk that the Encyclopedia Britannica defines as "a disembodied human spirit that, because of former sins, wanders restlessly until it finds a haven in the body of a living person."

    Walter Mosley

  • A dybbuk is the spirit of a dead man that enters the body of another living being and possesses it.

    The Killing Kind

  • "Just as the dybbuk is a confrontation between two identities within the same person, the dybbuk's outburst reflects a confrontation between the center and the periphery and a confrontation between cultures, East and West," she explains.

    San Francisco Sentinel

  • According to the kabbalist concept, the dybbuk is a soul - in most cases of a sinner - that has not found a home (it is in a liminal state) either in heaven or in hell.

    San Francisco Sentinel

  • In Jewish mythology, a dybbuk is a demonic spirit that inhabits a dead person.

    Arizona Daily Wildcat

  • Why else does the film begin with a hilarious but troubling parable about an ancient rabbi (Fyvush Finkel) who may or may not be inhabited by a wandering lost soul known as a dybbuk?

    Boston.com Top Stories

  • He himself was almost in the grip of a 'dybbuk' of documentation.

    San Francisco Sentinel

  • My favorite scene of the year is the opening "dybbuk" scene of A Serious Man.

    Awards Daily's Oscar Countdown

  • Goyer, who will likely write and direct X-Men spinoff Magneto after launching his ABC series Flash Forward, found a fresh twist for The Unborn dybbuk spirits described in Jewish folklore.

    Wired Top Stories

Comments

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  • Like 'dibbick'. An example from a fictional drama title: Dybbuck Schybbuck; I said we need more ham! (-Eugene Levy)

    April 30, 2009

  • Is the pronunciation "Dib - buck" or "die - buek" ?

    Even if it isn't technically English, it's still a fun word.

    April 30, 2009

  • Common? Matter of opinion. I wouldn't classify it as an English word at all.

    March 15, 2009

  • According to Chris Cole in Wordplay, the common word of length 6 with the most infrequently used letters.

    June 1, 2008