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 He has been arrested previously for, among other things, trying to destroy a giant Hanukkah menorah outside Providence City Hall. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "YouTube threats against a judge in the Boston Marathon bombing case land a New England man in jail," 5 Jan. 2020 Temple Emanuel members were invited to bring their own menorah, light them at the same time and enjoy dinner and a concert in celebration of the sixth night of Hanukkah. The Denver Post, "Photos: Hanukkah Hoopla service," 27 Dec. 2019 Each family brings its own menorah to light, Estes explained. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Jewish families ‘spread the light of miracles’ throughout Hanukkah season," 26 Dec. 2019 To mark their victory, Jews wanted to reclaim the temple and light its menorah, but only found enough pure olive oil for one day, according to David Oliver, USA TODAY, "Hanukkah 2019: When is it, and what to know (No, it's not the 'Jewish Christmas')," 22 Dec. 2019 The menorah first appeared on the mountain in the 1990s. Paulina Pineda, azcentral, "3 Wise Men won't go up on 'A' Mountain in Tempe this year. Here's why," 21 Dec. 2019 And on Sunday, he was spotted at the annual downtown Detroit Chanukah menorah lighting. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "12 big Michigan stories in 2019: Transmissions, terror and Trump," 27 Dec. 2019 But in the past few decades, synagogues have begun hosting parties for their members and, along with others, putting on public menorah lightings in November and December, when the holiday usually falls. Danae King,, "Hanukkah celebrations become larger, more elaborate in relation to Christmas," 23 Dec. 2019 This year, survivors of the Nazi Holocaust are gathering in four cities around the world for menorah-lighting ceremonies. Fox News, "Hanukkah around the world," 23 Dec. 2019

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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Statistics for menorah

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Menorah.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on menorah

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with menorah

Spanish Central: Translation of menorah

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

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not to be intimidated or subdued

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