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n. pl. phy·lac·ter·ies Judaism
Either of two small leather boxes, each containing strips of parchment inscribed with quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, traditionally worn strapped to the forehead and the left arm by Jewish men during morning worship, except on the Sabbath and holidays.

[Middle English filaterie, philacterie, from Old French filatiere, from Late Latin phylactērium, from Greek phulaktērion, guard's post, safeguard, phylactery, from phulaktēr, guard, from phulax, phulak-.]


n, pl -teries
1. (Judaism) Judaism (usually plural) Also called: Tefillah 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
2. a reminder or aid to remembering
3. archaic an amulet or charm
[C14: from Late Latin phylactērium, from Greek phulaktērion outpost, from phulax a guard]


(fɪˈlæk tə ri)

n., pl. -ter•ies.
1. Judaism. either of two small black leather cubes containing pieces of parchment inscribed with specific Biblical verses: worn by Orthodox or Conservative Jewish men during weekday morning prayers, one usu. strapped to the left arm, the other to the head above the hairline.
2. (in the early Christian church) a receptacle containing a holy relic.
3. an amulet or charm.
[1350–1400; Middle English philaterie < Medieval Latin philatērium, Late Latin phylactērium < Greek phylaktḗrion outpost, safeguard, amulet =phylak-, s. of phylássein to protect, guard + -tērion n. suffix of place]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.phylactery - (Judaism) either of two small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (known collectively as tefillin)phylactery - (Judaism) either of two small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (known collectively as tefillin); traditionally worn (on the forehead and the left arm) by Jewish men during morning prayer
Judaism - the monotheistic religion of the Jews having its spiritual and ethical principles embodied chiefly in the Torah and in the Talmud
reminder - a message that helps you remember something; "he ignored his wife's reminders"


A small object worn or kept for its supposed magical power:


[fɪˈlæktərɪ] Nfilacteria f
References in classic literature ?
Next morning, Miss Scatcherd wrote in conspicuous characters on a piece of pasteboard the word "Slattern," and bound it like a phylactery round Helen's large, mild, intelligent, and benign- looking forehead.
With attentiveness, Boehm, Holcomb, and contributing essayists draw out meaning from the featured pieces: a phylactery said to contain a bit of Jesus's cross; a fragment from Salah ad-Din's intricate Al-Aqsa midbar; sketches from Maimonides made upon his visit to the city.
33) A phylactery above this illustration has a partial verse from 1 Peter 2:15: obmutescere faciatis inprudentium hominum ignorantiam.
Yonatan Adler, lecturer at Ariel University and post-doctoral researcher at Hebrew University, found a rich secret hidden in an unmarked phylactery case buried in the Israel Antiquities Authority storerooms.
Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.
Benjamin has wafted her Tzipporah into the middle of the image; her left arm, wrapped in phylactery straps, is pierced at the shoulder by a phantasmagorical bird.