Printable Version
Pronunciation: hæ-lê-lu-yê Hear it!

Part of Speech: Interjection, noun

Meaning: 1. (Interjection) An interjection of unexpected joy or relief. 2. (Noun) An exclamation of "Hallelujah!" or piece of music based on it.

Notes: Notice the European pronunciation of J. Here at alphaDictionary we have a sense of "Hallelujah!" in celebration of the 16th year of the alphaDictionary site and its Good Word series this month. The rest of the nation is sighing, "Hallelujah," in relief, brought on by the results of 2020 election.

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", 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, Yahweh. 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"). Jehovah is the modern English (mis)pronunciation of Yahweh.

Dr. Goodword,

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