Yiddish/Hebrew word: "Deke"

I friend was reading a Herman Wouk novel (don’t remember the title, but I can find it if there’s any interest), and in one passage, there are several references to someone dressing like a “Deke.” A cursory Googling didn’t turn up anything meaningful.


My guess is that the reference is to someone who dresses like a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (who are known as Dekes).

Color me puzzled. I never heard that Wouk wrote a college novel, but if he did I’ll be all over it.

In addition to Delta Kappa, “Deke” is sometimes a nickname for guys with the initials DK, like early astronaut Donald K. Slayton*, who was known as Deke.

*He was grounded with a heart condition in the early 1960s, but finally got to fly on a Space Shuttle mission some years ago.

Inside, Outside

Right. It’s his semi-autobiographical novel about a Jewish kid from New York who becomes a writer. The references to Dekes comes from when the character is in college, and it’s talking about the frat:

Then there’s a scene where he dresses like a Deke, only to realize later, when he runs into an actual Deke who’s a friend of his, how un-Dekelike his clothing really is, and he’s embarrassed that he even tried it.

Another vote for this, with a citation from the Cassell Dictionary of Slang, which lists a nineteenth century origin for the term. It’s apparently also ice hockey slang for a feint, from “decoy” [attested from 1960], but that really doesn’t suit the context.

Yes, “deke” is a very common term in hockey. It means the same as “juke” in football.

And it’s expanded from hockey into many sports–last night IIRC I heard the TV play-by-play guy for the Milwaukee Brewers use it in a game telecast.