Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day

Thursday word: afikomen

Sorry for missing last week's post, but I was so wrapped up in the last day of preparations for Passover that I completely forgot. So in honor of the holiday:

afikomen (ah-fee-KOH-muhn) - n., a piece broken off from a matzo during a Passover Seder and put aside to be eaten at the end of the meal.

This is then eaten as the desert, after which nothing more can be eaten that night -- though there's still two more glasses of wine to consume. Among Ashkenazi Jews (I can't speak for Sephardim here) there are two traditions: that the leader of the Seder hides it for the children to find, or that the children steal it from the leader -- either way, the leader "ransoms" the afikomen with a toy or other gift, as the service cannot continue without eating it. Then it's broken up for all eat a piece, after which the Seder goes on. The word entered English around 1890, though it's not used much except by Jews, from Yiddish afikoymen, from Hebrew aphīgōmān, from Greek epikṓmion, a revel (according to the Jerusalem Talmud) or dessert (according to the Babylonian Talmud).

This year our daughter was old enough to search for the afikomen, and ransomed it for a toy plane.

Tags: a, greek, hebrew, noun, yiddish

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