AskDefine | Define hallelujah

Dictionary Definition

hallelujah n : a shout or song of praise to God

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From Hebrew הללויה meaning “Praise Jah!”


  1. An exclamation used in songs of praise or thanksgiving to God.
  2. A general expression of gratitude or adoration.
    Hallelujah! It’s finally the weekend!


exclamation to praise the God
general exclamation of gratitude
  • Finnish: halleluja
  • German: Halleluja


  1. A shout of “Hallelujah”.
  2. (plural) General praise.


  • So sung they, and the empyrean rung With Hallelujahs. - Milton
  • But I reserve my hallelujahs for the St. Louis pork ribs (half slab, $13/ full slab, $18.95) and the baby back ribs ($15.99, half/ $22.95, full), which were just as Smoky said they should be--tenderly succulent, with meat that pulls from the bone with minimal effort, but hasn't lost its texture from overcooking. — Lorraine Gengo in Rib Religion, Fairfield County Weekly, April 7, 2005


shout of Hallelujah
  • Finnish: halleluja
  • German: Halleluja
general praise
  • Finnish: ylistys
  • German: Gott sei Dank

Extensive Definition

Hallelujah, Halleluyah, or Alleluia, is a transliteration of the Hebrew word (Standard Halləluya, Tiberian Halləlûyāh) meaning "[Let us] praise () Yah ()." It is found mainly in the book of Psalms and has a similar pronunciation in many, but not all, languages. The word is used in Judaism as part of the Hallel prayers, and in Christian praise. It has been accepted into the English language, but its Latin form Alleluia is used by many English-speaking Christians in preference to Hallelujah.

In the Bible

The term is used 24 times in the Hebrew Bible (mainly in the book of Psalms, e.g. , , where it starts and concludes a number of Psalms) and four times in Greek transliteration in the Christian Book of Revelation.
The word "hallelujah" mentioned in Psalms is the Hebrew word for requesting a congregation to join in praise. The best translation of hallelujah is "Praise Yah, you people", usually worded in English versions as "Praise ye the LORD" or "Praise the LORD".
In the Hebrew Bible "hallelujah" is actually a two-word phrase, not one word. The first part, hallelu, is the second person imperative masculine plural form of the Hebrew verb hallal. However, "hallelujah" means more than simply "praise YHWH", as the word hallel in Hebrew means a joyous praise, to boast in God, or to act madly or foolishly.
The second part, Yah, is a shortened form of the name of God YHWH, sometimes rendered in English as "Yahweh" or "Jehovah". In Bible verse |Psalm|150:6|HE the Hebrew reads kol han'shamah t'hallel yah; the final word "yah" is translated as "the LORD", or "YHWH". It appears in the Hebrew Bible as הללו~יה and הללו יה. In Bible verse |Psalm|148:1|HE the Hebrew says "הללו יה hallelu yah". It then says "hallelu eth-YHWH" as if using "yah" and "YHWH" interchangeably. The word "yah" appears by itself as a divine name about 49 times in the Hebrew Bible (including hallelu yah), such as in Bible verse |Psalm|68:4-5|HE "who rides upon the heavens by his name Yah" and Bible verse |Exodus|15:2|HE "Yah is my strength and song". It also often appears at the end of Israelite theophoric names such as Isaiah "yeshayah(u), Yahweh is salvation" and Jeremiah "yirmeyah(u), Yahweh is exalted".

Usage by Christians

For most Christians, "Hallelujah" is considered a joyful word of praise to God, rather than an injunction to praise Him. In many western denominations, the Alleluia, along with the Gloria in Excelsis Deo, is not spoken or sung in liturgy during the season of Lent, instead being replaced by a Lenten acclamation, while in Eastern Churches, Alleluia is chanted throughout the lent in the beginning of the Matins service, replacing the Theos Kyrios, which is considered more joyful. At the Easter service and throughout the Pentecostarion, Christos anesti is used in the place where Hallelujah is chanted in the western rite.
Among many Christians, the expressions of Hallelujah and Praise the Lord are acceptable, spontaneous expressions of joy, thanksgiving and praise towards God, requiring no specific prompting or call or direction from those leading times of praise and singing.


hallelujah in Catalan: Hallelujah
hallelujah in Czech: Aleluja
hallelujah in German: Halleluja
hallelujah in Modern Greek (1453-): Αλληλούια
hallelujah in Spanish: Aleluya
hallelujah in Esperanto: Haleluja
hallelujah in French: Alléluia
hallelujah in Korean: 할렐루야
hallelujah in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Alleluia
hallelujah in Italian: Alleluia
hallelujah in Hebrew: הללויה
hallelujah in Lingala: Aleluya
hallelujah in Dutch: Hallelujah
hallelujah in Japanese: ハレルヤ
hallelujah in Norwegian: Halleluja
hallelujah in Norwegian Nynorsk: Halleluja
hallelujah in Polish: Alleluja
hallelujah in Portuguese: Aleluia
hallelujah in Russian: Аллилуйя
hallelujah in Serbian: Алелуја
hallelujah in Finnish: Halleluja
hallelujah in Swedish: Halleluja
hallelujah in Chinese: 哈利路亞

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Agnus Dei, Benedicite, Gloria, Gloria Patri, Gloria in Excelsis, Introit, Magnificat, Miserere, Nunc Dimittis, Te Deum, Trisagion, Vedic hymn, alleluia, answer, anthem, antiphon, antiphony, applause, canticle, chant, cheer, chorale, chorus of cheers, cry, doxology, hooray, hosanna, hurrah, hurray, huzzah, hymn, hymn of praise, hymnody, hymnography, hymnology, laud, mantra, motet, offertory, offertory sentence, paean, psalm, psalmody, rah, report, response, responsory, shout, versicle, yell, yippee
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