One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(among orthodox Ashkenazic Jews) a wig worn by a married woman.
- ‘Married women wear a sheitel with their hair cropped short.’
- ‘Wry jokes are whispered; remarks are made about the wigs (called sheitels) that the married Orthodox women wear to avoid the ‘immodesty’ of displaying their real hair.’
- ‘I'm men in shtreimels and women in funky sheitels, I'm English, I'm Jewish, I'm yiddishist, and maybe a little bit Israeli, and loud and quiet, and shy and confident, and sure and not sure.’
- ‘I couldn't help noticing some sheitel (religious Jewish women cover their hair) wearing frummers, and when the Baroness stripped down to her basque, I kept thinking ‘look away, don't sully yourselves’.’
- ‘I looked around, and it was 95% people in kippot and sheitels, or overdressed in the way that only frummers can be, and I thought, my my, everyone here is Jewish.’
Late 19th century: from Yiddish sheytl, from a Germanic base meaning ‘crown of the head’.
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