Tachanun (tah-khah-NOON)


  • n. A penitential prayer recited every morning and afternoon after the Shemone Esrei.

Example Sentences

  • "On Monday and Thursday mornings, Tachanun is augmented by a lengthy opening section of supplications beginning with the words ve-Hu rachum (He, the merciful one [is forgiving of iniquity and does not destroy])." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • Aramaic


  • תחנון, lit. 'supplication'

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education


      • North America


      • 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 central part of the tachanun is the nefilas apayim, the act of putting down one's face on the arm in a supplicatory posture while reciting a passage from Samuel II, 24:14." (Steinmetz)

    "[On] any festive or vaguely festive occasion—indeed, whenever a bridegroom is present—Tachanun is omitted. A 'no-Tachanun day' is almost synonymous with 'a happy day.'" (Glinert)

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