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

  • transitive v. Offensive To bargain shrewdly or unfairly with. Often used with down.
  • transitive v. Offensive To haggle so as to reduce (a price). Often used with down.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To bargain, to attempt to gain an unfair price in a business deal; to defraud.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, one belonging to the tribe or kingdom of Judah; after the return from the Babylonish captivity, any member of the new state; a Hebrew; an Israelite.
  • n. An adherent of Judaism.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A Hebrew; an Israelite.
  • n. A person who seeks gain by sordid or crafty means; a hard-fisted money-lender, or tricky dealer: an opprobrious use: as, he is a regular Jew.
  • n. [In the original editions the word in this passage is Jewes, the old dissyllabic possessive for either sex. The phrase “worth a Jewes eye” is the old proverb here used punningly.].
  • To overreach; cheat; beat unfairly at a bargain: as, to jew one out of a dollar.
  • To practise arts of overreaching or cheating in trade.

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

  • n. a person belonging to the worldwide group claiming descent from Jacob (or converted to it) and connected by cultural or religious ties


From Jews' supposedly extortionate practices as moneylenders in the Middle Ages.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the stereotype of Jews as scheming merchants. Compare gyp ("swindle") (which is probably from gypsy ("Roma")), and welsh ("swindle by defaulting on a debt"), from Welsh. (Wiktionary)



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