• Hallelujah •
hæ-lê-lu-yê • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Interjection, Noun
Meaning: 1. An interjection of unexpected joy or relief. 2. An exclamation of "Hallelujah!" or piece of music based on it.
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In Play: We all have 'hallelujah' moments; we might hear a student shout: "Hallelujah! Exams are over!" Parents occasionally feel like we do today, "Hallelujah! The kids are off to camp for the rest of the summer!" But, then, so do the kids: "Hallelujah! The 'rents are gone for the weekend!"
Word History: This very good word comes from Hebrew hallalû-yah "praise to God (Yahweh)," based on hallalu, the imperative plural of hillel "he praised". Hallel "song of praise" is a member of the same family. These words share the same ancestor as Arabic halala, the name of a Saudi Arabian coin. The name of the Arabian coin is akin to hilal "crescent" from halla "to appear" (said of the moon). Yah is a shortened form of one of the Hebrew words for God. It is found in many personal names such as Jedidiah (Hebrew yedid-yah "beloved of God"), Matthew (Hebrew mattay-yah "gift of God"), and Isaiah (Hebrew yesha'-yahu "salvation of God"). The origin of this word may be Hebrew haya "to cause to be." Jehovah is the modern English (mis)pronunciation of it.
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