me·​no·​rah | \ mə-ˈnȯr-ə How to pronounce menorah (audio) \

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 Earlier this month, Tom Mountain, a Massachusetts Republican Party leader, posed for a maskless photo in front of a silver menorah as dozens of other guests without face coverings mingled nearby at a White House Hanukkah party. Washington Post, "Massachusetts GOP leader says he likely got covid-19 at a White House Hanukkah party: ‘I’m paying the price’," 29 Dec. 2020 At Hanukkah this year, Lythcott-Haims opted to set up a menorah and dine on the front porch of two family members quarantined inside. Heather Greenwood Davis, Travel, "How to make the most of your family holiday this year," 21 Dec. 2020 Our destination event was Candy Cane Lane and not a menorah in sight. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, "An L.A. filmmaker never had Hanukkah movies growing up. So he wrote his own," 17 Dec. 2020 The community is encouraged to simultaneously light their menorah at 5:20 p.m. as leaders from Federation light a large-scale Hanukkah live from Rosemary Square. Mary Lou Cruz,, "Virtual community, entertainment events starting Dec. 13," 11 Dec. 2020 But Bill Clinton was the first president to actually light a menorah in the White House. Jonathan D. Sarna, The Conversation, "How Hanukkah came to be an annual White House celebration," 4 Dec. 2020 One of the cornerstones of Hannukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is lighting the menorah every night for eight nights. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "Here are some of the amazing things that happened on Zoom this year," 17 Dec. 2020 The Chabad said Saturday's menorah lighting was to focus on standing up to hatred after the University of Kentucky Jewish Center was vandalized last month. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, "Driver yells anti-Semitic slurs, assaults man during Hanukkah celebration in Kentucky," 15 Dec. 2020 Saturday’s incident in Lexington began as a volunteer camera crew filmed a group of community members preparing to light the menorah. Washington Post, "Driver shouted anti-Semitic slurs, ran over a man at menorah lighting, authorities say: ‘Hateful, hurtful and cowardly’," 14 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of menorah was in 1886

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Menorah.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for menorah


How to pronounce menorah (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of menorah

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


me·​no·​rah | \ mə-ˈnōr-ə How to pronounce menorah (audio) \

Kids Definition of menorah

: a holder for candles used in Jewish worship

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Nglish: Translation of menorah for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about menorah

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