or me·gil·la

[muh-gil-uh; for 2 also Sephardic Hebrew muh-gee-lah]

noun, plural me·gil·lahs, Sephardic Hebrew me·gil·loth, me·gil·lot [muh-gee-lawt] /mə giˈlɔt/.

  1. a lengthy, detailed explanation or account: Just give me the facts, not the whole megillah.
  2. a lengthy and tediously complicated situation or matter.
(italics) Hebrew. a scroll, especially one containing the Book of Esther. Others are the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the Book of Ruth, and the Book of Lamentations.

Origin of megillah

1950–55; < Yiddish megile literally, scroll < Hebrew məgillāh Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for megillah


noun plural -lahs or -loth (Hebrew -ˈlɔt) Judaism

a scroll of the Book of Esther, read on the festival of Purim
a scroll of the Book of Ruth, Song of Songs, Lamentations, or Ecclesiastes
slang anything, such as a story or letter, that is too long or unduly drawn out

Word Origin for megillah

Hebrew: scroll, from galal to roll
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 megillah

"long, tedious, complicated story," 1957, from Yiddish (e.g. a gantse Megillah "a whole megillah"), literally "roll, scroll," collective name of the five Old Testament books appointed to be read on certain feast days, from Hebrew meghillah, from galal "he rolled, unfolded." The slang use is in reference to the length of the text.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper