One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, used by Jews.
- ‘Jane wiped her watering eyes and turned to look at the spinning dreidel.’
- ‘Sleigh bells are ringing, dreidels are spinning, and your two-week vacation is just around the corner.’
- ‘Schools planning ‘holiday season’ programs have been instructed to not include any icons or images in their pamphlets or concert programs that might be construed as religious symbols; for example, Christmas trees or dreidels.’
- ‘The holidays are rich with traditions, from exchanging gifts and spinning dreidels to more personalized rituals like sharing family recipes and lending a helping hand at local shelters.’
- ‘One year I will get too frustrated and start sending everyone cards with dreidels on them.’
- 1.1 A gambling game played with a dreidel, especially at Hanukkah.
- ‘We'd go over to an aunt's house, play dreidel and then on each night of Hanukkah, there'd be all the presents in the living room.’
- ‘Again, playing dreidel for money is not the same as gambling in a casino.’
- ‘We celebrate Hannukah by playing dreidel - gambling, basically - for gelt, which is coin-shaped chocolate.’
- ‘Foil-wrapped chocolate coins called Hanukkah Gelt are given as gifts and are also the prize in a children's game called dreidel.’
1930s: from Yiddish dreydl; compare with German drehen ‘to turn’.
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