One fun Hanukkah tradition is playing with a dreidel, a small top with Hebrew letters on each of its four sides. Dreidel is also the name of the game played with this kind of top — and winners are often rewarded with the most chocolate coins.

For generations, a common prize for being the luckiest dreidel spinner has been actual money, coins referred to as Hanukkah gelt. Candy makers invented the newer tradition of chocolate versions covered in gold foil. To play with a dreidel, you spin it, and depending which side lands facing up, you either lose game pieces or take them from the pot in the center. The Yiddish root, dreyen, means "to turn."

Definitions of dreidel

n a four-sided top used in a game traditionally played during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah

Type of:
spinning top, teetotum, top, whirligig
a conical child's plaything tapering to a steel point on which it can be made to spin

n a game of chance played with a dreidel during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah

Type of:
a contest with rules to determine a winner

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