What Is a Jewish Matchmaker Called?

A Jewish matchmaker is called a shadchan if he is a male or a shadchanit if she is female. The tradition of matchmaking is known as shidduch. Professional matchmakers are paid to propose potential matches between singles, a tradition that has continued within the Orthodox Jewish community.

There is a mistaken belief that the word for a Jewish matchmaker is “yenta” or “yente.” The origin of this error is the 1964 musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” in which a character named Yente serves as the matchmaker for the village of Anatevka. The Yiddish name “Yente” derives from a word meaning “gentle” or “noble,” but it has come to refer to a woman who is a gossip or a busybody, much like the character in the musical.