Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

phylactery

play
noun phy·lac·tery \fə-ˈlak-t(ə-)rē\

Definition of phylactery

plural phy·lac·ter·ies

  1. 1 :  either of two small square leather boxes containing slips inscribed with scriptural passages and traditionally worn on the left arm and on the head by observant Jewish men and especially adherents of Orthodox Judaism during morning weekday prayers

  2. 2 :  amulet



Examples of phylactery

  1. <he wore a small phylactery on a cord around his neck>



Illustration of phylactery

Origin of phylactery

Middle English philaterie, from Medieval Latin philaterium, alteration of Late Latin phylacterium, from Greek phylaktērion amulet, phylactery, from phylassein to guard, from phylak-, phylax guard


First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with phylactery


Learn More about phylactery


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up phylactery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet kittly-benders pince-nez spindrift
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ