menorah

noun
me·​no·​rah | \mə-ˈnȯr-ə \

Definition of menorah 

: 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

English speakers originally used the Hebrew borrowing menorah for the seven-branched candelabra used in Jewish worship since ancient times. The nine-branched Hanukkah candelabra is called hanukkiah in Hebrew, but English speakers have come to use menorah for this candelabra too. The Hanukkah menorah recalls the expulsion by Judas Maccabaeus of invading forces from the Temple of Jerusalem. Maccabaeus 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

Twenty of the petitioners were Jews who wanted a Hanukkah menorah on the grounds each December, with the rest Christians or others who worshipped no deity but wanted to take a stand on religious fairness, according to the foundation. Carl Prine, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Navy probes Bible placement in military display at Okinawa hospital," 6 Apr. 2018 This year’s menorah will be surrounded by gifts and donations that will benefit children affected by this year’s hurricanes. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Christmas 2017: Holiday tree lightings and displays in the Milwaukee area," 13 Nov. 2017 Two years later, Preston Smith was allowed to display an oversized satanic pentagram in a Boca Raton park in protest of a nearby menorah, manger scene and Christmas tree. Susannah Bryan, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Ring of string is latest religious symbol to spur controversy," 22 June 2018 In the early 2000s, Feitshans began lobbying for a menorah-lighting ceremony, similar to the borough’s annual Christmas tree lighting in Nicholson Park. Kristin E. Holmes, Philly.com, "In Haddonfield, a new Jewish center as close as home," 7 June 2018 Even without a book or a guide, even after two millenniums of crumbling, the image of the seven-branched candelabrum — the Jewish menorah — is unmistakable on the inner wall of the Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum. David Laskin, New York Times, "Rome, Through the Eyes of Flavius Josephus," 28 Mar. 2018 The annual celebration for Jewish families and friends will include snacks, music and the lighting of the menorah. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Christmas 2017: Holiday tree lightings and displays in the Milwaukee area," 13 Nov. 2017 It’s just advised that those with the menorahs dispose of them or, at least, keep them solely as a decorative item. David J. Neal, sacbee, "Hot-shooting NBA team’s Hanukkah menorah recalled for potential fire hazard | The Sacramento Bee," 9 Mar. 2018 It’s just advised that those with the menorahs dispose of them or, at least, keep them solely as a decorative item. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Hot-shooting NBA team’s Hanukkah menorah recalled for potential fire hazard | Miami Herald," 9 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of menorah

1886, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for menorah

Hebrew mĕnōrāh candlestick

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Time Traveler for menorah

The first known use of menorah was in 1886

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More Definitions for menorah

menorah

noun

English Language Learners Definition of menorah

: an object that holds seven or nine candles and that is used in Jewish worship

menorah

noun
me·​no·​rah | \mə-ˈnōr-ə \

Kids Definition of menorah

: a holder for candles used in Jewish worship

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