megillah (meh-GIL-ah) listen
megillah (meh-gee-LAH) listen


  • n. One of the five books that compose kethuvim--writings in Tanakh.

  • n. Can also refer to the physical scroll on which one is written.

  • n. The Book of Esther specifically.

  • n. A long, engrossing story or description.

Example Sentences

  • "It's Purim. How can you miss the megillah reading?"

  • "Their wedding had a sushi bar, carving stations, tuxedoed waiters, live music, champagne--the whole megillah!"

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • Heb מגילה megilá, Yiddish מגילה megíle

    • Who Uses This

      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings



  • The five megillot are The Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. The phrase "the whole megillah" (see example) is a calque of די גאַנצע מגילה di gantse megile, from Yiddish.

Edit     Something missing from this entry? Inaccurate? Feel free to suggest an edit.