sho·​far ˈshō-ˌfär How to pronounce shofar (audio)
plural shofroth shō-ˈfrōt How to pronounce shofar (audio)
: the horn of a ruminant animal and usually a ram blown as a trumpet by the ancient Hebrews in battle and during religious observances and used in modern Judaism especially during Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur

Illustration of shofar

Illustration of shofar

Did you know?

One of the shofar's original uses was to proclaim the Jubilee year (a year of emancipation of enslaved Jews and restoration of alienated lands to their former owners). Today, it is mainly used in synagogues during the High Holidays. It is blown daily, except on Shabbat, during the month of Elul (the 12th month of the civil year or the 6th month of the ecclesiastical year in the Jewish calendar), and is sounded a number of times during the Rosh Hashanah services, and again at the end of the last service (known as neilah) on Yom Kippur. The custom is to sound the shofar in several series that alternate shorter notes resembling sobbing and wailing with longer unbroken blasts.

Examples of shofar in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At a campaign rally in October, a huge screen with the image of a man wearing a Jewish prayer shawl and blowing a shofar suddenly illuminated the stadium. Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times, 9 Dec. 2023 Tikvah holds a community High Holiday celebration and services with traditional blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15 and 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16 led by Cantor Larry Kornit on the campus of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 925 Balour Drive, and via Zoom. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Sep. 2023 Several Jewish men blew a shofar, the ram’s horn used on Rosh Hashana. Somini Sengupta,, 17 Sep. 2023 According to McNair, churches who don’t have bell towers were going to use hand bells in front of the church to mark the moment of the bombing and a Jewish temple will blow the shofar. Williesha Morris |, al, 15 Sep. 2023 Among those tasked to blow the shofar was Stanley Cohn of Skokie, who organized the shofar blowers for the occasion. Karie Angell Luc, Chicago Tribune, 26 Sep. 2022 Another Kharkiv recruit headed for the battle zone asked Moskovitz to tutor him on blowing the shofar, the ram’s horn that is sounded for Rosh Hashana and a few other occasions. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2023 Sounding the Shofar Hearing the sound of the shofar, a ceremonial musical instrument made out of a ram’s horn, is one of the most important traditions associated with Rosh Hashanah. Alesandra Dubin, Country Living, 29 Aug. 2023 The services end with closing prayers and well as the blowing of the shofar, a horn. Alesandra Dubin, Good Housekeeping, 22 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shofar.' 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 shōphār

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shofar was in 1833


Dictionary Entries Near shofar

Cite this Entry

“Shofar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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