Definitions

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

  • n. A small image or idol representing an ancient Semitic household god.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. an image of a Semitic household god

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See teraphim.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A household image reverenced by the ancient Hebrews: in the Bible used only in the plural, and sometimes applied to one image.

Etymologies

Back-formation from teraphim, teraphim, from Hebrew tərāpîm, household gods.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The spirit of the English language, the tragedy and comedy of the condition of the English people, spoke through him as the god spoke through a teraph-head or brazen mask of oracle.

    What I Saw in America

  • Herbert states that Attila is represented on an old medallion with a teraph, or a head, on his breast; and the same writer adds: "We know, from the _Hamartigenea_ of Prudentius, that Nimrod, with a snaky-haired head, was the object of adoration of the heretical followers of Marcion; and the same head was the palladium set up by Antiochus Epiphanes over the gates of Antioch, though it has been called the visage of Charon.

    The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 04

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