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Anusim / Marranos

Anusim (Hebrew: אנוסים, plural for anùs) means "forced ones" in Hebrew. In Jewish Law, this is the legal term applied to a Jew who was forced to abandon Judaism against his or her will, but does whatever is in his or her power to continue practising Judaism under the forced condition. It derives from the Talmudic term "abera be' ones", meaning "a forced transgression". The Hebrew verb concerned originally referred to any case where a Jew has been forced into any act against his or her will. The term anùs is used in contradistinction to meshumad, which means a person who has lapsed from the observance of Judaism voluntarily.

The term anusim was used more often after the forced conversion to Christianity of German Jews at the end of the 11th century CE. Rashi, a French rabbi who lived during this period, wrote about the issue in his legal opinions. Because of the mass forced conversion of Jews in Spain and Portugal during the 14th and 15th centuries, the term became widely used by Spanish rabbis and their successors for the following 600 years.

In non-rabbinic literature, Iberian Anusim were referred to as marranos; this term in Spanish and Portuguese meant "pigs". In both Portuguese and Spanish, the term marrano acquired the meaning of "swine" or "filthy" (but in contemporary Spanish it has no association with Jews).