Printable Version
Pronunciation: 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.

Notes: The entire management and staff of Lexiteria are shouting, "Hallelujah!" this week in anticipation of the seventh New Year of the alphaDictionary site. We are the creators and former staff of who launched our new ship in December of 2004 with no constraints on our enthusiasm and invention. We hope you will continue traveling with us and tell your friends about our fabulous cybercruise through the inner workings of language.

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.

Dr. Goodword,

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