Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Lord. Used in Judaism as a spoken substitute for the ineffable name of God.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A Hebrew name of God, reverentially used in reading as a substitute for the “ineffable name” JHVH, that is, Jehovah. See Adonist and Jehovah.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A Hebrew name for God, usually translated in the Old Testament by the word “Lord”.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • proper noun YHWH, the ineffable name of God, is read as Adonai ("My Lord") or as Elohim. The word Adonai is normally used only in prayer, else the speaker risks taking the Lord’s name in vain. In normal speech, the word HaShem ("The Name") is used instead.

Etymologies

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

[Hebrew ’ădônāy, my lord : ’ādôn, lord; see ℵd in Semitic roots + -ay, my; see -y in Semitic roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Hebrew אֲדֹנָי, "My Lord"; used in place of the Tetragrammaton YHWH as a name of the God of the Hebrews during prayer recitation.

Examples

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