Word of the Day


Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a period in November or December when Jewish people light candles in their homes …

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The proper noun Hanukkah comes from the Hebrew ‘hanukkah’ and Latin ‘Chanuca’. It has been used in English since the 17th century.


Today is the first day of Hanukkah, a Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE. Like Easter, Passover, and many other religious festivals, Hanukkah falls on different dates from year to year, always between late November and late December in the Gregorian calendar. Like Diwali, which this year was celebrated in November, Hanukkah is a festival of light: one candle on the nine-branched candelabrum called a menorah is lit every evening until all are alight. Children play a game with a spinning top called a dreidel and special foods are eaten. Hanukkah has a number of different spellings, including Channukah and Hannukah, but Hanukkah is the most frequently used.


At this time of year, when the sun is most hidden, the holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the rays of hope and light.
(Rafael Goldstein, quoted on rebekahlowin.com)

Hanukkah is about the freedom to be true to what we believe without denying the freedom of those who believe otherwise.
(Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, quoted on rebekahlowin.com )

Related Words

menorah, dreidel, candle, latke, sufganiyah

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

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Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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