Definition of teraphim in US English:


plural noun

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

    • ‘Made in many sizes, but always in human form, the teraphim was thought to be the giver of a prosperous existence.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘Her theft of the teraphim was, thus, a preventive measure designed to protect her family.’
    • ‘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).’


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