from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of several Aramaic explanatory translations or paraphrasings of the Hebrew Scriptures.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Alternative capitalization of targum
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A translation or paraphrase of some portion of the Old Testament Scriptures in the Chaldee or Aramaic language or dialect.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A translation or paraphrase of some portion of the Hebrew Scriptures in the Aramaic or Chaldee language or dialect, which became necessary after the Babylonish captivity, when Hebrew began to die out as the popular language.
I recently ran across a book in the library called The Jews of Kurdistan and discovered there was a whole population of Jewish speakers of what they called Targum, most of whom are now in Israel.
I wonder if the name Targum for the language might reflect the same history as the name Yiddish.
+ The earliest is on the Pentateuch and is known as the Targum of
There are two Targums to Esther, the one closely resembles a paraphrase and has no legends interwoven with it; the other, called Targum scheni, has altogether the character of a Midrash.
This is generally called the Targum of Jonathan or of the
+ The Targums were originally oral, and the earliest Targum, which is that of Onkelos on the Pentateuch, began to be committed to writing about the second century of the Christian era; though if did not assume its present shape till the end of the third or the beginning of the fourth century.
 Onkelos was a celebrated rabbin contemporary with St. Paul, and to whom the Targum, that is, a translation or paraphrase of the Holy Scriptures, is attributed.
'Targum' is cognate with Arabic 'tarjman' (used for example to describe the Syraic and later Arabic versions of Greek texts) and pseudo-Turkish 'dragoman', the guys (often Jewish or Armenian?) who would act as translator-guides to 19th century orientalists doing their grand tours of the Middle East.
That's the dictionary meaning, but "Targum" is what the speakers of this dialect called it.
The Rabbis ruled that this episode is among the verses that are read but without Targum, that is, that they should not be interpreted during the public reading of the Torah (T Megillah, 3: 35), thus teaching of the Rabbis’ displeasure at this act.