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[pas-oh-ver, pahs-] /ˈpæsˌoʊ vər, ˈpɑs-/
Also called Pesach, Pesah. a Jewish festival that commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and is marked chiefly by the Seder ritual and the eating of matzoth. It begins on the 14th day of Nisan and is celebrated for eight days by Orthodox and Conservative Jews outside of Israel and for seven days by Reform Jews and Jews in Israel.
(lowercase) paschal lamb (def 1).
Origin of Passover
1520-30; noun use of verb phrase pass over, as translation of Hebrew pesaḥ Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Passover
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Was not my first poem based on one in the Passover night Hagadah?

  • Yet they were saved by the Passover through the faith of their parents.

    Bertha and Her Baptism Nehemiah Adams
  • You remember that it was April and Passover was coming on; in fact, it began that night.

  • It is the eve of the Passover feast, the birthday of Israel's nationality.

    Rabbi and Priest

    Milton Goldsmith
  • She asked if I wasn't going to stay out of school during Passover, and I said no.

    The Promised Land Mary Antin
British Dictionary definitions for Passover


Also called Pesach, Pesah, Feast of the Unleavened Bread. an eight-day Jewish festival beginning on Nisan 15 and celebrated in commemoration of the passing over or sparing of the Israelites in Egypt, when God smote the firstborn of the Egyptians (Exodus 12) related adjective paschal
another term for the Paschal Lamb
Word Origin
C16: from pass over, translation of Hebrew pesah, from pāsah to pass over
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Passover

1530, coined by Tyndale from verbal phrase pass over, to translate Hebrew ha-pesah "Passover," from pesah (see paschal), in reference to the Lord "passing over" the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he killed the first-born of the Egyptians (Ex. xii).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Passover in Culture

Passover definition

The deliverance of the Israelites from the worst of the plagues of Egypt, and the annual festival kept afterward in memory of the event. Through Moses, God told the Israelites to prepare a special meal to be eaten in haste the evening before their escape from Egypt (see Exodus), with a whole roasted lamb as the main dish. The blood from the lamb was to be used to mark the Israelites' houses. That night, God would send the angel of Death to kill the firstborn males of the Egyptians (this was the worst of the plagues of Egypt), but God would see the blood on the Israelites' houses, and he would command his angel to “pass over” — to kill no one there. God told Moses that the Israelites were to repeat the meal each spring on the anniversary of their departure from Egypt. The Jews keep the festival of Passover to this day.

Note: The Last Supper of Jesus and his Apostles was a Passover meal. The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus were explained by the Apostles as the new Passover of the New Testament.

Passover definition

Among Jews, the festival commemorating the Exodus, the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. During Passover, unleavened bread, called matzo, is eaten. In the course of the festival, the story of the Exodus is read.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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