chal·​lah | \ ˈḵä-lə How to pronounce challah (audio) , ˈhä- How to pronounce challah (audio) \
variants: or less commonly challa or
plural challoth or challot\ ˈḵä-​ˌlōt How to pronounce challah (audio) , -​ˌlōth , -​ˌlōs , ˈhä-​ \ or challahs also challas\ ˈḵä-​ləz How to pronounce challah (audio) , ˈhä-​ \ or halloth or hallot\ ˈḵä-​ˌlōt How to pronounce challah (audio) , -​ˌlōth , -​ˌlōs , ˈhä-​ \ or hallahs\ ˈḵä-​ləz How to pronounce challah (audio) , ˈhä-​ \

Definition of challah

: egg-rich yeast-leavened bread that is usually braided or twisted before baking and is traditionally eaten by Jews on the Sabbath and holidays

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, challa, hallah, and the plural forms challoth, challot, halloth, and hallot 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 fricative, like the ch in the German Buch or the Scottish English loch.

Examples of challah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Traditionally, the challah on the table is covered for the opening ceremony, a blessing over wine. Benjamin, Longreads, 20 May 2022 French brioche, Jewish challah, Swiss zopf, Italian pane di pasqua -- many cultures have their own version of a sweet, and often braided, bread. Casey Barber, CNN, 15 Apr. 2022 The events include educational programs such as Sharsheret Pink Shabbats, Pink challah bakes or panel discussions in partnership with local synagogues and other Jewish organizations. Sergio Carmona,, 1 Oct. 2021 And what do traditions like eating a round challah mean for Jewish communities? Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, 2 Sep. 2021 Also reminiscent of the Ashkenazi Jewish onion roll, which has a challah-like softness to it, Ono’s roll has a comforting softness to it, like a chubby baby’s cheek. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Aug. 2021 Entirely self-taught, Arrigoni has never tasted a challah other than her own creations. Rachel Ringler,, 23 June 2021 For a perfect challah with a smooth texture, Arrigoni chills her dough. Rachel Ringler,, 23 June 2021 Bake the challah, 27 to 35 minutes, until rich golden brown and burnished. Arkansas Online, 15 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'challah.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of challah

1873, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for challah

Yiddish khale, from Hebrew ḥallāh

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The first known use of challah was in 1873

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Dictionary Entries Near challah

chalky paper



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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Challah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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