The Hebrew word for "lord." In the Jewish traditions, it is used to address and refer to the supreme being, but it is not a personal name. (Nor is "God.") Other terms that refer to this supreme being are Elohim, Melach Ha Olam, and Shechinah. The actual pronunciation of the personal name is not known, and would not be said aloud except under very special conditions.

A Hebrew word for God (see Hebrew words for God for some history of this and other words). It doesn't appear in the Bible, but is used as the pronunciation for YHWH, which does! Literally, it means "my lords", and is translated into English as "the Lord".

Note that Adonai is also a plural form, like Elohim. So it is possible that it was formed by some analogy to this earlier, biblical form.

Ad`o*na"i (?), n. [Heb. adOnAi, lit., my lord.]

A Hebrew name for God, usually translated in the Old Testament by the word "Lord".

⇒ The later Jews used its vowel points to fill out the tetragrammaton Yhvh, or Ihvh, "the incommunicable name," and in reading substituted "Adonai".

 

© Webster 1913

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