Dreidel (also commonly spelled dreydel) — Pronounced DRAY-dull. A spinning top with four sides, each marked with a different Hebrew letter and each indicating a different play in this game.
Gelt — Yiddish for money, which was traditionally given on Hanukkah. Today, it is more often used to identify foil-covered chocolate coins, which are included in many Hanukkah celebrations.
Hanukkiyah — Pronounced hah-noo-kee-YAH or hah-noo-KEE-yuh (oo as in boot). Literally “Hanukkah lamp,” it is more commonly referred to as a menorah (see below). It contains nine candle-holders, one for each night of Hanukkah and one to hold the Shamash (see below).
Latkes — Pronounced LAHT-kuhs, sometimes LAHT-kees. Pancakes, usually potato ones, fried in oil and eaten on Hanukkah.
Maccabees — Pronounced MACK-uh-bees. The family of religious zealots who triumphed over the Syrian Greeks and liberated the Temple.
Menorah— Pronounced muh-NOHR-uh. Literally “lamp,” it originally was used only to describe the seven-branched candelabrum that was used in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. However, the hanukkiyah used on Hanukkah is commonly referred to as a menorah.
Nes Gadol Hayah Sham —Pronounced ness gah-DOHL high-YAH shahm. Literally “a great miracle happened there,” the letters on the dreidel (nun, gimmel, hey, shin) represent these words. In Israel, the shin is replaced with a peh, so the letters spell out Nes Gadol Hayah Po, or “a great miracle happened here.”
Sevivon — Pronounced suh-vee-VOHN. The Hebrew word for dreidel.
Shamash (also often spelled shammash) — Pronounced shah-MAHSH. Literally “the helper,” the candle on the Hanukkiyah that is used to light the other candles.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.
Pronounced: kha-new-KEY-uh, Origin: Hebrew, a candelabra with eight branches used for Hanukkah candles. Also known as a Hanukkah menorah.
Pronounced: muh-NOHR-uh, Origin: Hebrew, a lamp or candelabra, often used to refer to the Hanukkah menorah, or Hanukkiah.