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bar mitzvah

or bar mizvah

[bahr mits-vuh or, Ashkenazic Hebrew bahr; Sephardic Hebrew bahr meets-vah] /bɑr ˈmɪts və or, Ashkenazic Hebrew bɑr; Sephardic Hebrew ˌbɑr mitsˈvɑ/ Judaism.
noun, (often initial capital letters)
a solemn ceremony held in the synagogue, usually on Saturday morning, to admit as an adult member of the Jewish community a Jewish boy 13 years old who has successfully completed a prescribed course of study in Judaism.
the boy participating in this ceremony.
verb (used with object)
to administer the ceremony of bar mitzvah to:
Our son was bar mitzvahed at the family synagogue.
Compare bat mitzvah.
Origin of bar mitzvah
1860-65; < Biblical Aramaic bar son + Hebrew miṣwāh divine law, commandment
Can be confused
bar mitzvah, bas mitzvah, bat mitzvah. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bar-mitzvah
Historical Examples
  • But it was not till he was on the point of bar-mitzvah (confirmation at thirteen) that the blow fell.

    Ghetto Tragedies Israel Zangwill
  • It was shortly after my confirmation,—I mean my—my bar-mitzvah.

  • Still, at any cost, he had determined not to miss so important an event as his nephew's bar-mitzvah.

    Rabbi and Priest Milton Goldsmith
  • If it please God, you will be 'bar-mitzvah' in three years—may you live to a hundred and twenty.

    Jewish Children Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich
British Dictionary definitions for bar-mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah

/bɑː ˈmɪtsvə/
(of a Jewish boy) having assumed full religious obligations, being at least thirteen years of age
the occasion, ceremony, or celebration of that event
the boy himself on that day
Word Origin
Hebrew: son of the law
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
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Word Origin and History for bar-mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah

1861, in Judaism, "male person who has completed his 13th year and thus reached the age of religious responsibility," from Hebrew, literally "son of command." As a name for the ceremony itself, by 1941.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bar-mitzvah in Culture
bar mitzvah [(bahr mits-vuh)]

An important ceremony and social event in Judaism marking the beginning of religious responsibility for Jewish boys of thirteen. Bar mitzvah is Hebrew for “son of the commandment.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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