Word of the Day

: June 19, 2024


noun JOO-buh-lee

What It Means

Jubilee usually refers to a special anniversary or a celebration of such an anniversary. It can also refer generally to a season of celebration or act of rejoicing, or to a religious song of African Americans referring to a time of future happiness.

// My grandparents will be celebrating their golden jubilee this year—as Grandpa puts it, "50 years of wedded bliss and occasional blisters."

// The town is planning a year-long jubilee in celebration of its founding 200 years ago.

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jubilee in Context

"The Juneteenth Freedom Day Festival … will celebrate the date the remaining 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, first heard news of the Emancipation Proclamation. The commemoration of that event has spread from Texas and now is observed nationally as a day of jubilee and freedom." — Patrick Murfin, The Chicago Daily Herald, 16 June 2023

Did You Know?

Juneteenth, a holiday observed in the United States on June 19 in commemoration of the end of slavery, has several other names as well, including Juneteenth National Independence Day, Freedom Day, Black Independence Day, and Jubilee Day. The word jubilee here is of special significance; while jubilee is often used generally to refer to an anniversary or celebration of an anniversary, its history is intertwined with the idea of emancipation. According to the biblical book of Leviticus, every fifty years Hebrew slaves were to be set free, lands given back to their former owners, and the fields left unharvested. This year of liberty was announced when a ram’s horn was blown. In Hebrew, that ceremonial horn was called a yōbhēl, and the celebratory year took its name from that of the horn. As the Bible was translated into other languages, the concept of the yōbhēl spread around the world, as did its name (albeit with spelling modifications). It eventually entered English via the Anglo-French word jubilé in the 14th century. Since then, jubilee has not only kept its original, biblical sense, but has gained others, including one referring to a traditional African American spiritual that looks forward to a time of future happiness and deliverance from oppression.

Test Your Vocabulary

What is the name of the ram's-horn trumpet blown during Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur?



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