phylactery

[ fi-lak-tuh-ree ]
/ fɪˈlæk tə ri /

noun, plural phy·lac·ter·ies.

Judaism. either of two small, black, leather cubes containing a piece of parchment inscribed with verses 4–9 of Deut. 6, 13–21 of Deut. 11, and 1–16 of Ex. 13: one is attached with straps to the left arm and the other to the forehead during weekday morning prayers by Orthodox and Conservative Jewish men.
(in the early Christian church) a receptacle containing a holy relic.
an amulet, charm, or safeguard against harm or danger.

RELATED WORDS

Origin of phylactery

1350–1400; < Late Latin phylactērium < Greek phylaktḗrion outpost, safeguard, amulet, equivalent to phylak-, stem of phylássein to protect, guard + -tērion noun suffix denoting place; replacing Middle English philaterie < Medieval Latin philatērium, for Late Latin, as above

Related forms

phyl·ac·ter·ic [fil-ak-ter-ik] /ˌfɪl ækˈtɛr ɪk/, phyl·ac·ter·i·cal, adjectivephy·lac·ter·ied, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for phylactery

phylactery

/ (fɪˈlæktərɪ) /

noun plural -teries

Also called: Tefillah Judaism (usually plural) either of the pair of blackened square cases containing parchments inscribed with biblical passages, bound by leather thongs to the head and left arm, and worn by Jewish men during weekday morning prayers
a reminder or aid to remembering
archaic an amulet or charm

Word Origin for phylactery

C14: from Late Latin phylactērium, from Greek phulaktērion outpost, from phulax a guard
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