[ te-truh-gram-uh-ton ]
/ ˌtɛ trəˈgræm əˌtɒn /


the Hebrew word for God, consisting of the four letters yod, he, vav, and he, transliterated consonantally usually as YHVH, now pronounced as Adonai or Elohim in substitution for the original pronunciation forbidden since the 2nd or 3rd century b.c.

Compare Yahweh.

Origin of Tetragrammaton

1350–1400; Middle English < Greek tetragrámmaton, noun use of neuter of tetragrámmatos having four letters, equivalent to tetra- tetra- + grammat- (stem of grámma) letter + -os adj. suffix

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tetragrammaton


/ (ˌtɛtrəˈɡræmətən) /


Bible the Hebrew name for God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 3), consisting of the four consonants Y H V H (or Y H W H) and regarded by Jews as too sacred to be pronounced. It is usually transliterated as Jehovah or YahwehSometimes shortened to: Tetragram

Word Origin for Tetragrammaton

C14: from Greek, from tetragrammatos having four letters, from tetra- + gramma letter

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 tetragrammaton



c.1400, from Greek (to) tetragrammaton "(the word) of four letters," from tetra- "four" (see four) + gramma (genitive grammatos) "letter, something written" (see grammar). The Hebrew divine name, transliterated as YHWH, usually vocalized in English as "Jehovah" or "Yahweh."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper