Chutzpah Origin and Its Usage

What is the meaning of Chutzpah? From where did the word come from? What are its Examples? What are the negative and positive aspects of the Chutzpah? How to accurately use Chutzpah? What are the synonyms and antonyms of Chutzpah?

Over the centuries, various terms have been discovered and most of them have been derived from some other languages. The words broad, gesundheit, a basket case, etc. are some of the words that hold different meanings when they originated, but their meanings transformed over time. One such word that you will get to know is chutzpah. Well, today you will learn about chutzpah origin, chutzpah meaning in English, chutzpah examples, and the pronunciation of chutzpah.

1. Chutzpah meaning in English

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In terms of English, the word chutzpah means supreme self-confidence. A person with bold behavior who is willing to take risks in a highly confident and shameless manner is termed to have chutzpah. The term is often related to the confident behavior of a person who acts disrespectfully or rudely. The words used to define it are audacity, cheek, and insolence. (See What are Unique Characteristics?)

2. Chutzpah Origin

Traditionally, the word chutzpah was used to express a strong sense of outrage, disapproval, and condemnation. Somewhere in the 1890s, the word was coined from the Hebrew word hosepa and the Yiddish word huspa or khutspe which means to be insolent. So, this Chutzpah origin has a background in Hebrew. In Hebrew, the term was used to define someone who was indignant and who had stepped beyond the boundaries of accepted behavior. (See Gesundheit Origin Story)

3. Use of Chutzpah in Rabbinical Literature

An American author and rabbi, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, explained the meaning of the word as a tradition of spiritual audacity and defined them with words as contrariness and stubbornness. (See What is Your Unique Identity?)

4. Contemporary use of Chutzpah

Despite the story of Chutzpah origin, the word has found its place in almost all fields of conversation, including law. In an article, judge Alex Kozinski, a Romanian-American lawyer, and Eugene Volokh, a Ukrainian-American legal scholar mentioned that the word chutzpah has been used in legal opinions also. They mentioned that the word was first used in the Supreme Court decision in 1998. The word has also been used in American legal opinions before and after 1980, the total time count is about 231 times. (See Top 16 Hanukkah Spelling Variations)

5. Chutzpah Examples

After knowing about chutzpah origin, if you are still confused about the word chutzpah, take a look at the chutzpah examples:

  • A person goes to a job interview and says, I do not have the necessary qualifications, but you should hire me because I am smart, and I can do the job better than any other candidate. As you can see the person has confidence in himself but his way of saying things makes him look arrogant and disrespectful towards other candidates. He could have said the same thing politely and innovatively.
  • Another example is about a person who purchased pirated software and then called the company to inform them that their software had a bug. Here, you can see he himself purchased the pirated software and has the confidence to call the company to inform them about the bug. So, either he did not consider it before doing it or he wants to look cool by doing so. 

6. Different Aspects of Chutzpah

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The word chutzpah has been defined innovatively in almost every domain. However, the meaning of the term is the same everywhere. But over the years it has been discovered that the word chutzpah has both positive and negative aspects if used correctly and in the right place. In his book Chutzpah published in 1991, author Alan M. Dershowitz mentioned that the word chutzpah has both negative and positive connotations.

  • When the word is used to define someone who is violating the norms and overstepping the boundaries, it is giving out a negative aspect. You use the term to show off your achievements and how you destroyed others in the way to achieve them. This is negative chutzpah.
  • The term more likely leads to positive outcomes if it revolves primarily around being confident and daring. 

After the chutzpah origin, he further mentioned that it means assertiveness, boldness, a willingness to demand, challenge authority, raise eyebrows, and defy tradition. To the victim, the word refers arrogance, unmitigated gall, hypocritical demanding, etc. So, it is truly in the eye of the beholder. (See Stupid Sayings That Make No Sense)

7. Ways to use Chutzpah

When a word carries such meaning and impression, you need to use it more carefully. You do not want to ruin your image in front of the person but still, you want them to have a hint of your confidence. Consider the following points before using the word.

  • What is the goal behind using the word? Is it boasting or showing your confidence?
  • The situation in which you are thinking to use the word.
  • The people who are going to be the listener deserve to hear this or not!
  • The benefits for which you think you should use the word and the chances that you will likely get that benefit if you use the word.
  • Lastly, you should consider the potential risk that can arise if the other person does not perceive it as you assume. 

8. Ways to Respond to Chutzpah

Sometimes the person knowingly or unknowingly uses chutzpah. If you figure things out before reacting in a certain manner, then it is better. To figure out what should be your response toward such a person, make sure to consider the points mentioned here.

  • Is the person aware of their extreme behavior or not? And if not, then maybe he is not aware of his actions.
  • Do not presume that the other person did it intentionally unless you know that person and his intentions behind doing so.
  • Instead of letting anger take over and alter your reaction assess the situation properly.
  • Take a stand against the person who is using chutzpah and inform them that you know what they are doing. This will give them an idea that you will not be affected by their behavior. 

9. Pronunciation of Chutzpah

There are times when you mispronounce things. Now if you are pronouncing chutzpah as chu-z-pah, then you are doing it wrong. The correct pronunciation is huts-puh. Here, C will be silent, so the pronunciation of chutzpah will be either this or hootz-pah. (See How to Learn Tut Language?)

10. Synonyms of Chutzpah

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Take a look at the following words that can be used in place of chutzpah in writing.

  • Arrogance
  • Assurance
  • Cockiness
  • Hardihood
  • Overconfidence
  • Sanguinity
  • Self-assurance
  • Self-confidence
  • Discourteousness
  • Disrespect
  • Impertinence
  • Impoliteness
  • Impudence
  • Incivility
  • Inconsiderateness
  • Inconsideration
  • Insolence
  • Rudeness
  • Ungraciousness
  • Backtalk
  • Boldness
  • Sass
  • Swagger
  • Swash 

11. Antonyms of Chutzpah

Take a look at the words that you can use in place of chutzpah in writing.

  • Bashfulness
  • Diffidence
  • Faintheartedness
  • Hesitancy
  • Modesty
  • Shyness
  • Timidity
  • Timidness
  • Timorousness
  • Civility
  • Courteousness
  • Courtesy
  • Gentility
  • Graciousness
  • Mannerliness
  • Manners

So, along with the chutzpah origin today you got to know about chutzpah examples and chutzpah meaning in English. Now, ask your friends about the pronunciation of chutzpah and see if they get it right. (Also read Why only 26 Alphabets in One Word: Ever Wondered?)

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