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megillah

[muh-gil-uh; for 2 also Sephardic Hebrew muh-gee-lah] /məˈgɪl ə; for 2 also Sephardic Hebrew mə giˈlɑ/
noun, plural megillahs Sephardic Hebrew, megilloth, megillot
[muh-gee-lawt] /mə giˈlɔt/ (Show IPA)
1.
Slang.
  1. a lengthy, detailed explanation or account:
    Just give me the facts, not the whole megillah.
  2. a lengthy and tediously complicated situation or matter.
2.
(italics) Hebrew. a scroll, especially one containing the Book of Esther. Others are the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, the Book of Ruth, and the Book of Lamentations.
Also, megilla.
Origin
1950-1955
1950-55; < Yiddish megile literally, scroll < Hebrew məgillāh
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for megillah

megillah

/məˈɡɪlə; Hebrew miɡiˈla/
noun (Judaism) (pl) -lahs, -loth (Hebrew) (-ˈlɔt)
1.
a scroll of the Book of Esther, read on the festival of Purim
2.
a scroll of the Book of Ruth, Song of Songs, Lamentations, or Ecclesiastes
3.
(slang) anything, such as a story or letter, that is too long or unduly drawn out
Word Origin
Hebrew: scroll, from galal to roll
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 megillah
n.

"long, tedious, complicated story," 1957, from Yiddish (e.g. a gantse Megillah "a whole megillah"), literally "roll, scroll," collective name of the five Old Testament books appointed to be read on certain feast days, from Hebrew meghillah, from galal "he rolled, unfolded." The slang use is in reference to the length of the text.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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