Passover Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Wondering what Passover means? We can help. Read on as we explore the term Passover to uncover its definition, origin, and more.

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While many people prepare to celebrate Easter, Jewish people will also be gathering for a major holiday: Passover.

Not sure what Passover means? Don’t worry — we’re here to help! Read on as we explore the term Passover to uncover its meaning, origin, and more. 

What Does Passover Mean?

If you ask the fine folks over at the Cambridge English Dictionary, Passover is a Jewish festival celebrated around April or March every year. The festival itself is traditionally eight days and is held to commemorate the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

Passover or Pesach in Judaism is a holiday in remembrance of the Hebrew’s liberation from slavery in Egypt. It also symbolizes the “passing over” of the forces of destruction. 

Lastly, the Jewish holiday commemorates the sparing of the firstborn of the Israelites, when the Lord “smote the land of Egypt” on the night before the Exodus.

Passover always begins on the 15th. However, the festival’s end date is up for debate. 

For many, Passover ends on the 21st. However, outside of Israel and among Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative Jewish people, Passover ends on the 22nd day of the month of Nisan (April or March). 

Many times over, Passover has been celebrated with great ceremony and pomp, namely so, on the first night. On the first night of Passover, a special family meal called seder is held. 

During this family meal or “seder,” prayers and traditional recitations are performed. At the same time, foods of symbolic significance commemorating the Hebrew’s liberation are eaten. 

Festival of Unleavened Bread

While it is widely known that the festival of Passover is meant to be one of great rejoicing, special prohibitions and strict dietary guidelines must be observed. Despite the fact that the amount of days to celebrate is not set in stone, one item is that during Passover, all leaven is prohibited. 

During the seven or eight days, all leaven, whether bread or any other mixture, is prohibited, and only unleavened bread or matzo may be eaten. In turn, Passover is also at times called the Festival of Unleavened Bread.

The matzo symbolizes not only the haste at which all Hebrews left in the course of the Exodus but also the suffering while in bondage.

What Is the Etymology of the Word Passover?

By understanding the etymology, “the study of the origin and history of words,” we can better grasp the true meaning behind a word. 

Passover is an annual Jewish feast that was instituted in 1530 to commemorate the Jews’ escape from Egypt. The noun “Passover” was first coined by Tyndale, stemming from the verbal phrase “pass over,” to translate the Hebrew phrase ha-pesah

All of these are in reference to the Lord “passing over” the houses of all the Israelites in Egypt when he was to kill all the Egyptian’s first-borns (Exodus xii).

How Can Passover Be Used in a Sentence?

While we have already touched on the history behind the noun Passover, how do we use it correctly in a sentence? Below we have included a few example sentences of how to use Passover in a sentence. 

Use these examples to better grasp how to use Passover in proper context and to further understand how to incorporate the noun into everyday writings and conversations. 

  • I do believe our Passover plans are all in order.
  • Matzo! It will be Passover next week, will it not? 
  • I hope your family has a happy Passover holiday!
  • Oh wow, that is really interesting, and why is it called Passover again?
  • Did you hear? They misplaced the Passover meal on Nisan 12 instead of 15.

What Are The Synonyms and Antonyms of Passover?

There are a few different words that we can use in place of the word Passover. These “different” words are called antonyms and synonyms. 

An antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of the original word, whereas a synonym is a word with the exact same or similar meaning as the original. 

Both synonyms and antonyms are a great way to expand our English vocabulary, all while helping us to avoid repeating ourselves in written and spoken conversations. 

Below we have included a few synonyms of Passover provided by Power Thesaurus:

  • Feast of the Unleavened Bread
  • Pesah
  • Pesach
  • Paschal Lamb
  • Eastertime
  • Eastery
  • Eastertide
  • Hebrew Pesaḥ

Other Important Terms to Know in Judaism

Below we have included a small list of related words, phrases, and important terms to know in Judaism:

  • Bar Mitzvah
  • Cantor
  • Bat Mitzvah
  • Chanukah
  • Halakha
  • Story of the Exodus
  • Menorah
  • Synagogue
  • Chametz
  • The Ark
  • Hanukkah
  • Kosher
  • Messiah
  • Talmudic
  • The Talmud
  • Yom Kippur
  • The Torah
  • The Haggadah
  • Moses
  • Angel of Death


While it may be known by a few different names, the Jewish festival of Passover will always commemorate the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. 

We hope this guide has provided you with a good understanding of the term Passover. To discover more interesting words and their definitions, visit our website where you’ll also find grammar tips, tools, and more. 


  1. Passover | definition in | Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. Passover synonyms – 57 Words and Phrases for Passover | Power Thesaurus
  3. 20 Exodus Facts Every Jew Should Know | Chabad