hamsa

Pronunciations

Definitions

  • n. A hand-shaped amulet (often a wall-hanging or jewelry) conferring good luck or protection, popular in Israel and originally from the Middle East / North Africa.

Example Sentences

  • " In Jewish culture, the hamsa is called the Hand of Miriam; in Muslim culture, the Hand of Fatima." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • Arabic / Judeo-Arabic

Etymology

  • Arabic خمسة 'five', Heb חמסה

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
      • Israel: Diaspora Jews who feel connected to Israel and have spent time there
      • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)
      • Sephardim: Jews with Sephardi or Mizrahi heritage

      Regions

      • North America
      • South Africa

      Dictionaries

      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      chamsa

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