te·​fil·​lin tē-ˈfi-lən How to pronounce tefillin (audio)
 also  -ləm
plural in form but sometimes singular in construction
: the phylacteries worn by Jews

Examples of tefillin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Avraham Shaya Eisenman, 32, wearing tefillin, a small leather box containing religious texts. Erik Ortiz, NBC News, 4 Nov. 2023 In one scene, he’s shown wrapping the leather straps of tefillin — small prayer boxes — around his arms. Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone, 27 Oct. 2023 People could sometimes see marks from my tefillin. Josefin Dolsten, sun-sentinel.com, 28 Oct. 2020 The groom’s future brother-in-law got his first tefillin from the synagogue’s rabbis. Masada Siegel, WSJ, 22 Feb. 2023

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

Word History


Late Hebrew tĕphīlīn, from Aramaic, attachments

First Known Use

1613, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tefillin was in 1613

Dictionary Entries Near tefillin

Cite this Entry

“Tefillin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tefillin. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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