[Ashkenazic Hebrew kah-dish; Sephardic Hebrew kah-deesh]
noun, plural Kad·di·shim [Ashkenazic Hebrew kah-dish-im; Sephardic Hebrew kah-dee-sheem] /Ashkenazic Hebrew kɑˈdɪʃ ɪm; Sephardic Hebrew kɑ diˈʃim/. Judaism.
  1. (italics) a liturgical prayer, consisting of three or six verses, recited at specified points during each of the three daily services and on certain other occasions.
  2. (italics) Also called Mourner's Kaddish. the five-verse form of this prayer that is recited at specified points during each of the three daily services by one observing the mourning period of 11 months, beginning on the day of burial, for a deceased parent, sibling, child, or spouse, and by one observing the anniversary of such a death.
  3. Kaddishim, persons who recite this prayer.

Origin of Kaddish

First recorded in 1605–15, Kaddish is from the Aramaic word qaddīsh holy (one)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for kaddish

Contemporary Examples of kaddish

Historical Examples of kaddish

  • There was not even one of her kin to say the first Kaddish over her resting-place.

  • I spoke the only Kaddish for her soul, but we, after all, were complete strangers to her!

  • Selig made no reply, he only gazed at his Kaddish with a beaming face.

  • Only no one may say Kaddish for me, no one may pray for the repose of my soul.

    Ghetto Tragedies

    Israel Zangwill

  • When they leave, the dying man teaches his son how to say "Kaddish" for his soul when he is dead.

    The Spirit of the Ghetto

    Hutchins Hapgood

British Dictionary definitions for kaddish


noun plural Kaddishim (kæˈdɪʃɪm) Judaism
  1. an ancient Jewish liturgical prayer largely written in Aramaic and used in various forms to separate sections of the liturgy. Mourners have the right to recite some of these in public prayer during the year after, and on the anniversary of, a death
  2. say Kaddish to be a mourner

Word Origin for Kaddish

C17: from Aramaic qaddīsh holy
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

Word Origin and History for kaddish

"doxology of the Jewish ritual," 1610s, from Aramaic qaddish "holy, holy one," from stem of q'dhash "was holy," ithqaddash "was sanctified," related to Hebrew qadhash "was holy," qadhosh "holy." According to Klein, the name probably is from the second word of the text veyithqaddash "and sanctified be."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper