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n. pl. sham·mo·sim (shä-mô′sĭm)

[Yiddish shames, from Hebrew šammāš; see shamash.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈʃɑːməs; Hebrew ʃaˈmaʃ) or


n, pl shammosim or shammashim (Hebrew ʃaˈmɔsɪm)
1. (Judaism) an official acting as the beadle, sexton, and caretaker of a synagogue
2. (Judaism) the extra candle used on the Feast of Hanukkah to kindle the lamps or candles of the menorah
[from Hebrew shāmmāsh, from Aramaic shĕmāsh to serve]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


or sha•mes

(ˈʃɑ məs)

n., pl. sham•mo•sim or sha•mo•sim (ʃɑˈmɔ sɪm)
2. the candle used to kindle the other candles in the Hanukkah menorah.
[1945–50; < Yiddish shames < Hebrew shammāsh server, attendant]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Yes, Bogart is using the Yiddish version--more popularly spelled "shammes"--of the Hebrew word, "shamash." But how did a Yiddish word for the ninth candle on a Hanukkah menorah turn into a term for "private detective"?
The novel's main character, Meyer Landsman, is a jaded homicide detective and "the most decorated shammes in the District of Sitka," the Yiddish-speaking Alaskan Jewish homeland.
They took out the phone because the shammes"the guy who ran this rabbi-less congregation"was making book on it."
White, the "goy" from whom they bought their shoes, had been the shammes at Temple Zion for thirty years.
Yet another stacks books on the almemar, shoves them, balled up crumpled wet, into pew pockets, lays them out on seats swept toward the rear, nosebleed territory from which the Shammes groans in with an enormous what hath God wrought iron key, looped on a rope around his waist, hanging low under his gut, swinging with his stride--which is as long and wide as the last night he'll spend here, free, unconcerned.
(6.) Or maybe not, for I am suspicious of the proclivity of psychiatrists to opt for explanations somehow related to sex, especially when, as in Yale's case, there was very possibly another cause, namely, that a shammes had shlogen Kamisar back when he was a mamzerook.
1974) (describing "appellant's tsoriss"), "shammes," State v.