- Rare something worn as a charm or safeguard
Origin of phylacteryMiddle English filaterie from Medieval Latin phylaterium from Ecclesiastical Late Latin phylacteria (used for Classical Hebrew (language) tefilin, plural of tefila, prayer from root pll, to pray, entreat from Classical Greek phylakt?rion, a safeguard from phylassein, to defend, guard from source phylax, a watchman
nounpl. phy·lac·ter·ies Judaism
Origin of phylacteryMiddle English filaterie, philacterie from Old French filatiere from Late Latin phylactērium from Greek phulaktērion guard's post, safeguard, phylactery from phulaktēr guard from phulax phulak-
Recorded since circa 1380, Middle English, philaterie, either from Old French filatiere (12c.), or via Medieval Latin philaterium, an alteration of Late Latin phylacterium (“reliquary"), from Ancient Greek Ï†Ï…Î»Î±ÎºÏ„Î®ÏÎ¹Î¿Î½ (phulaktÄ“rion, “safeguard, amulet"), via adjective Ï†Ï…Î»Î±ÎºÏ„Î®ÏÎ¹Î¿Ï‚ (phulaktÄ“rios, “serving as a protection"), from Ï†Ï…Î»Î±ÎºÏ„Î®Ï (phulaktÄ“r, “watcher, guard"), itself from Ï†Ï…Î»Î¬ÏƒÏƒÏ‰ (phulassÅ, “guard or ward off"), from Ï†ÏÎ»Î±Î¾ (phulaks, “a guard").