chal·​lah ˈḵä-lə How to pronounce challah (audio) ˈhä- How to pronounce challah (audio)
variants or less commonly challa or hallah
plural challoth or challot ˈḵä-ˌlōt How to pronounce challah (audio)
or challahs also challas ˈḵä-ləz How to pronounce challah (audio)
or halloth or hallot ˈḵä-ˌlōt How to pronounce challah (audio)
or hallahs ˈḵä-ləz How to pronounce challah (audio)
: egg-rich yeast-leavened bread that is usually braided or twisted before baking and is traditionally eaten by Jews on the Sabbath and holidays

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Challah Comes From Yiddish

When English speakers first borrowed challah from Yiddish, they couldn't quite settle on a single spelling, so the word showed up in several forms; challah and hallah, and the plural forms challot, challoth, challahs, hallot, halloth, and hallahs were all common enough to merit inclusion in Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged when it was released in 1961. Today, challah and the anglicized plural challahs are the variants that are usually encountered by English speakers. The initial ch of challah is frequently pronounced as a velar or uvular fricative, like the ch in the German Buch or the Scottish English loch.

Examples of challah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Price: $180 This may be the most creative name of a company ever, which is fitting because their challah is over the top creative, as well. Lois Alter Mark, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 Gently brush the tops and sides of the challahs with the liquid, sprinkle with the seeds, and bake until the crust is deeply golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped, 25 to 30 minutes. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Jan. 2024 My wife is a Jewish atheist who has lately taken to baking challah and lighting Shabbat candles on Fridays. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2023 Including challah with this meal is common, and before enjoying the bread, the traditional hamotzi blessing is said. Jamie Kravitz, Woman's Day, 28 Aug. 2023 Koenig writes that it can be served with warm challah or other breads for dipping. Sheryl Julian,, 12 Sep. 2023 At Silver Moon Bakery on the Upper West Side, Judith Norell, an owner, offers a round braid and standard round challahs. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 11 Sep. 2023 Another common tradition for many Jewish families is to serve a round challah on Rosh Hashanah. Jamie Kravitz, Woman's Day, 15 Aug. 2023 There will be a Florida virtual pink challah bake on Oct. 14 and a South Palm Beach community-wide Sharsheret Pink Shabbat from Oct. 15-16 in partnership with the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, the Deborah & Larry D. Silver Center for Jewish Engagement and 16 synagogues. Sergio Carmona,, 1 Oct. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'challah.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Yiddish khale, from Hebrew ḥallāh

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of challah was in 1873


Dictionary Entries Near challah

Cite this Entry

“Challah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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