Definition of Hanukkah in US English:


(also Chanukah)


  • A lesser Jewish festival, lasting eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December) and commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. It is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights.

    • ‘The word Hanukkah means dedication and commemorates the Jews' struggle for religious freedom.’
    • ‘The festival of Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and is accompanied by traditional games, rituals and, of course, food.’
    • ‘Our Jewish friends are anxiously anticipating the beginning of Hanukkah and its eight nights of present giving, menorah lighting, and dreidel spinning.’
    • ‘Children in the Neve Decaline settlement are celebrating the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.’
    • ‘Haaretz, over in Israel, bemoans how Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, is turning into an out and out shopping fest…’


From Hebrew ḥănukkāh ‘consecration’.