me·​no·​rah mə-ˈnȯr-ə How to pronounce menorah (audio)
: a candelabra with seven or nine lights that is used in Jewish worship

Illustration of menorah

Illustration of menorah

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The Menorah and Hanukkah

In English, menorah was originally the name for the seven-branched candelabra used in Jewish worship. The nine-branched Hanukkah candelabra is called hanukkiah in Hebrew, but English speakers came to use menorah for this too. The Hanukkah menorah recalls expulsion by Judah Maccabee of invading forces from the Temple of Jerusalem. Maccabee and his followers sought oil for the temple's menorah so that the sanctuary could be rededicated, but they found only enough oil for a single day. Miraculously, that tiny amount of oil burned for eight days, until a new supply could be obtained. The Hanukkah menorah includes a candle for each day the oil burned, plus the shammes, a "servant candle" that is used to light the others.

Examples of menorah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During Hanukkah, the festival of lights, Jewish families light a candelabra known as a menorah every night for eight nights. CNN, 29 Nov. 2023 West Elm Pure Ceramic Menorah Enhance your tablescape with this ultra-chic menorah from West Elm. Anna Tingley, Variety, 29 Nov. 2023 The Star of David borders the perimeter and runs down the center in various sizes, and menorahs are situated on each end. Amanda Ogle, Southern Living, 22 Nov. 2023 Modern menorah tray First off, this isn’t a true menorah and is not meant to stand in for one. Karen Hugg, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2023 This Hanukkah cat toys set features eight miniature catnip toys, including a mouse, menorah, and dreidel to keep your kitty busy this holiday season. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2023 As enchanting as the art were the colorful lit menorahs shaped like watermelons and dirty martinis–above all else, incredibly on-brand for Susan Alexandra. Kristen Bateman, Vogue, 10 Nov. 2023 The Blush Heritage print features reindeer and light pink Santas, while the light blue Rifle Paper Co. Hanukkah collection is decked out in menorahs, lights, and more. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 27 Oct. 2023 For a modern take, the best menorah is this Laura Cowan design. Jamie Weissman, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Hebrew mĕnōrāh candlestick

First Known Use

1886, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of menorah was in 1886


Dictionary Entries Near menorah

Cite this Entry

“Menorah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


-ˈnȯr- How to pronounce menorah (audio)
: a holder for candles used in Jewish worship

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