Definition of teraphim in English:


plural noun

  • [also treated as singular] Small images or cult objects used as domestic deities or oracles by ancient Semitic peoples.

    ‘Rachel stole the teraphim, the household gods of her family’
    • ‘There followed a confrontation between them, in which Laban accused Jacob of stealing his teraphim (household images, or ‘gods’, used for divination and supposed to ‘protect’ a home from evil forces).’
    • ‘The existence of the teraphim, or cult objects (Rachel, Michal) is an indication of family worship that is indirectly shown by the discovery of hundreds of figurines (mostly female).’
    • ‘Her theft of the teraphim was, thus, a preventive measure designed to protect her family.’
    • ‘Made in many sizes, but always in human form, the teraphim was thought to be the giver of a prosperous existence.’


Late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek theraphin, from Hebrew tĕrāp̱īm.