from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A toy similar to a spinning top used in games of chance played by children and adults at Hanukkah.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A four-sided spinning top, a symbol of Judaism used at Hanukkah.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a toy shaped somewhat like a top, but having four flat sides, each marked with one of the Hebrew letters nun, gimel, he, or shin. It is spun like a top, and the letter showing when it stops spinning determines the outcome of a game of chance.
  • n. a game of chance played with a dreidel{1}, most commonly by children at Hannukah.


Yiddish dreydl, from dreyen, to turn, from Middle High German dræjen, from Old High German drāen.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
    Etymology: Yiddish dreydl, from dreyen to turn, from Middle High German drǣjen, from Old High German dr�?en — more at throw
    Date: 1916
    1 : a 4-sided toy marked with Hebrew letters and spun like a top in a game of chance
    2 : a children's game of chance played especially at Hanukkah with a dreidel

    See teetotum

    January 30, 2008