from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Judaism Either of two small leather boxes, each containing strips of parchment inscribed with quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, one of which is strapped to the forehead and the other to the left arm; traditionally worn by Jewish men during morning worship, except on the Sabbath and holidays.
- n. An amulet.
- n. A reminder.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Either of the two small leather cases, containing biblical scrolls, worn by Jewish men at morning prayer; the tefilla.
- n. Any small object worn for its magical or supernatural power; an amulet or charm.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Any charm or amulet worn as a preservative from danger or disease.
- n. A small square box, made either of parchment or of black calfskin, containing slips of parchment or vellum on which are written the scriptural passages Exodus xiii. 2-10, and 11-17, Deut. vi. 4-9, 13-22. They are worn by Jews on the head and left arm, on week-day mornings, during the time of prayer.
- n. Among the primitive Christians, a case in which the relics of the dead were inclosed.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A charm or amulet.
- n. Specifically
- n. In Jewish antiquity, an amulet consisting of a strip or strips of parchment inscribed with certain texts from the Old Testament, and inclosed within a small leather case, which was fastened with straps on the forehead just above and between the eyes, or on the left arm near the region of the heart. The four passages inscribed upon the phylactery were Ex. xiii. 2-10, 11-17, and Deut. vi. 4-9, 13-22. The custom was founded on a literal interpretation of Ex. xiii. 16, and Deut. vi. 8 and xi. 18.
- n. Among the primitive Christians, etc., a case in which were inclosed relics of the saints.
- n. Synonyms See defs. of amulet, talisman, and mezuzah.
- n. See also tephillin.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (Judaism) either of two small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (known collectively as tefillin); traditionally worn (on the forehead and the left arm) by Jewish men during morning prayer
Those ribbons got the name of phylactery, borrowed from the Greek word for the containers for small scrolls of Hebrew scripture.
The word phylactery comes from a word signifying to keep, preserve, or guard.
These characters, who have descended without interruption from a numerous family in the days of our Saviour, are here so accurately delineated – the very cut of the phylactery is so well observed – that we should reckon it one of the most useful parts of the present work, were it not for the strange concession which is made to them in the same breath.
 A phylactery is a writing bound upon the forehead, containing something to be kept constantly in mind.
Authorities say US Airways express flight 3079 from LaGuardia to Louisville was diverted to Philadelphia International Airport after a 17-year-old male strapped on a "tefillin," also known as a phylactery, used in the Jewish religion for prayer purposes.
The incident arose when the man used a phylactery, a small black box Orthodox Jews strap to their head as part of their rituals, police said.
The rise of the phylactery bomber « Anglican Samizdat
The alacrity with which my beloved allowed Lubavitcher man to strap the black phylactery on took me by surprise.
Like a phylactery is just basically something that you transferred meaning to, like, you know, just a symbol.
Anon 3:30, I hope that he does not get his phylactery caught up in the spokes.