noun ju·bi·lee \ ˈjü-bə-(ˌ)lē , ˌjü-bə-ˈlē \
|Updated on: 3 Jul 2018

Definition of jubilee

1 a : a special anniversary; especially : a 50th anniversary
b : a celebration of such an anniversary
2 a : jubilation
b : a season of celebration
3 often capitalized : a year of emancipation and restoration provided by ancient Hebrew law to be kept every 50 years by the emancipation of Hebrew slaves, restoration of alienated lands to their former owners, and omission of all cultivation of the land
4 a : a period of time proclaimed by the Roman Catholic pope ordinarily every 25 years as a time of special solemnity
b : a special plenary indulgence granted during a year of jubilee to Roman Catholics who perform certain specified works of repentance and piety
5 : a religious song of black Americans usually referring to a time of future happiness

jubilee was our Word of the Day on 12/15/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of jubilee in a Sentence

  1. the town is planning a year-long jubilee in celebration of its founding 200 years ago

Recent Examples of jubilee from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of jubilee

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French jubilé, from Late Latin jubilaeus, modification of Late Greek iōbēlaios, from Hebrew yōbhēl ram's horn, jubilee

Other Number-Related Terms



adjective, often capitalized

Definition of jubilee

: flambé
  • cherries jubilee

First Known Use of jubilee


in the meaning defined above

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JUBILEE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of jubilee for English Language Learners

  • : a special anniversary; also : a celebration at the time of such an anniversary

JUBILEE Defined for Kids


noun ju·bi·lee \ ˈjü-bə-ˌlē , ˌjü-bə-ˈlē \

Definition of jubilee for Students

1 : a 50th anniversary
2 : a time of celebration

History for jubilee

In ancient Hebrew tradition every 50th year was a time of restoration, when slaves were freed and lands restored to their former owners. This year took its Hebrew name, yōbhēl, from the ram's horn trumpets sounded to proclaim its coming. When the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek, yōbhēl was rendered as iōbēlaios. Under the influence of the Latin verb jubilare, “to let out joyful shouts,” the Greek word became jubilaeus in Latin, from which it came into English in the 1300s.

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to beat or defeat soundly

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