Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Judaism A shawl with ritually knotted fringe at each of four corners traditionally worn by Jewish males, especially at morning prayer. Also called prayer shawl.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An undergarment worn by orthodox Jews. It covers the chest and upper part of the back. It has tassels (called zizith) on its four corners.
  • n. A tasseled shawl or scarf worn over the head or thrown around the shoulders while at prayer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An undergarment worn by orthodox Jews, covering the chest and the upper part of the back. It has an opening for the head, and has tassels, called zizith, on its four corners.
  • n. A tasseled shawl or scarf worn over the head or thrown round the shoulders while at prayer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The mantle or, as in present Jewish usage, scarf-like garment worn by the Jews, especially at prayer. Also talith, talles, tallis.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Judaism) a shawl with a ritually knotted fringe at each corner; worn by Jews at morning prayer

Etymologies

Mishnaic Hebrew ṭallît, cover, from Hebrew ṭillēl, to cover, from Aramaic ṭallel, from ṭəlāl, shade; see ṭll in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • A man does not have to wear a tallith if he is unmarried.

    Chesler Chronicles » Khomeini-ism Comes to Israel: Women of the Wall vs. the Jewish State

  • In an article published in Outlook magazine, written only three years before her death in New York City on September 6, 1987, Evelyn Garfiel declared that Jewish women should assume traditionally male ritual obligations such as daily prayer and the wearing of a tallith and tefillin.

    Evelyn Garfiel.

  • And though he wasn't an Orthodox Jew, he wore official davening gear: about his shoulders was his silky, white tallith with its blue stripes and fringes, and on his left arm and on his forehead were his tefillin—the leather boxes and straps favored by Jews for their morning prayers.

    Wake Up, Sir!

  • So my uncle was bicycling and praying, and his tallith, had he been on a real bicycle facing the wind and the elements, would have been flapping behind him like a cape.

    Wake Up, Sir!

  • Nowadays, on the date referred to, Jews do not wear their tallith and phylacteries at morning prayer; by this act laying aside the outward signs of their covenant with God; but, contrary to custom, they put them on in the evening, when the fast is nearly over.

    Hebraic Literature; Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala

  • Take now thy little _tallith_ and if thy faith fail thee, from the touch of it may new strength come.

    The Coming of the King

  • Drawing himself into a sitting position, the Hindoo took the _tallith_, pressed it into the palm of his hand and sat for a short time without speaking.

    The Coming of the King

  • Instinctively the fisherman thrust his fingers against the little _tallith_, the touch of which aroused in him a mighty passion, for in the face of the serpent he now saw the lust of the Roman who had taken Sara.

    The Coming of the King

  • "Affright not Joel," Martha replied to her brother, "but tell me whether the _kittuna_ of this Rabbi is wool or flax, or his _tallith_ handsomely embroidered."

    The Coming of the King

  • From his coat Jael took a small bit of cloth suspended like an ornament on a neck cord and holding it toward Jesus said, "Her little _tallith_."

    The Coming of the King

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