What is the origin of the term ultra-orthodox in regard to religious Jews? I have not been able to locate it anywhere.

  • I don't know the answer but the term has been around since the 1820s. It has been used in respect of more than one religion or belief. You can read the actual extracts by clicking on the links at the bottom of the graph -- books.google.com/ngrams/… – chasly from UK Aug 31 '15 at 19:37
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    Look up orthodox (right + opinion), and ultra (to the highest degree). – Dan Bron Aug 31 '15 at 21:29

Orthodox was first used with reference to a branch of Judaism in 1853, ultra orthodox refers to a branch of Judaism (Haredi) which was formally established in 1912. The expression ultra orthodox , presumably, was already in use by that time:

Orthodox: (Etymonline)

  • As the name of the Eastern Church, first recorded in English 1772, in reference to a branch of Judaism, first recorded 1853.


  • The term "ultra-Orthodox" — the Hebrew equivalent is "Haredim," or "those who fear" God — is shorthand for sects that share loyalty to an eastern European ideal of religious study, large families, modesty, charity and a rejection of secular society.

  • Haredi Judaism (Hebrew: חֲרֵדִי Ḥaredi, IPA: [χaʁeˈdi]; also spelled Charedi, plural Charedim) is a stream of Orthodox Judaism characterized by rejection of modern secular culture.

  • Its members are often referred to as strictly Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox in English.

The birth of Heredi Judaism :

  • In the 20th century, a segment of the Orthodox population (notably as represented by the World Agudath Israel movement formally established in 1912) disagreed with Modern Orthodoxy and took a stricter approach.

  • Such rabbis viewed innovations and modifications within Jewish law and customs with extreme care and caution. Some observers and scholars refer to this form of Judaism as "Haredi Judaism", or "Ultra-Orthodox Judaism". The latter term is controversial, and some consider the label "ultra-Orthodox" pejorative.


  • "Haredim" is a Hebrew word meaning "those who tremble." In context, from their awe of God. It has the same meaning for the Quakers. – deadrat Sep 1 '15 at 6:57

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