One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A poem or song of praise to God consisting of Psalm 136, and sometimes also part of Psalm 135, recited or sung among Jews on joyous occasions.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Lightfoot (1602–1675), Hebraist and biblical scholar. After post-biblical Hebrew hallēl ha-gāḏōl (Tosefta, Ta'anit 3:5), denoting Psalm 136.
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