- 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 phylact&emacron;rium, from Greek phulakt&emacron;rion, guard's post, safeguard, phylactery, from phulakt&emacron;r, 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").