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Yom (Hebrew: יום‎‎) is a Biblical Hebrew word which occurs in the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament). The Arabic equivalent is "yawm" or "yōm" written as يوم.


Although yom is commonly rendered as day in English translations, the word yom has several literal definitions:[1]

  • Period of light (as contrasted with the period of darkness),
  • Period of twenty-four hours
  • General term for time
  • Point of time
  • Sunrise to sunset
  • Sunset to next sunset
  • A year (in the plural; I Sam 27:7; Ex 13:10, etc.)
  • Time period of unspecified length.
  • A long, but finite span of time - age - epoch - season.

Biblical Hebrew has a limited vocabulary, with fewer words compared to other languages, like English that has the largest vocabulary.[2] So words often have more than one meaning and context would determine the meaning.[3] Strong's Lexicon yom is Hebrew #3117 יוֹם [4] The word Yom's root meaning is to be hot as the warm hours of a day.

Thus "yom", in its context, is sometimes translated as: "time" (Gen 4:3, Is. 30:8); "year" (I Kings 1:1, 2 Chronicles 21:19, Amos 4:4); "age" (Gen 18:11, 24:1 and 47:28; Joshua 23:1 and 23:2); "age" (1 Samuel 9:20); "always" (Deuteronomy 5:29, 6:24 and 14:23, and in 2 Chronicles 18:7); "season" (Genesis 40:4, Joshua 24:7, 2 Chronicles 15:3); epoch or 24-hour day (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31) – see "Creationism", below.

Yom relates to the concept of time. Yom is not just for day, days, but for time in general. How yom is translated depends on the context of its use with other words in the around it, using hermeneutics.[5]

The word day is used somewhat the same way in the English language, examples: "In my grandfather's day, cars did not go very fast" or "In the day of the dinosaurs there were not many mammals."

The word Yom is used in the name of various Jewish feast days; as, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; Yom teruah (lit., day of shouting) the Feast of Trumpets.[6]

Yom is also used in each of the days of the week in the Hebrew calendar.

See also[edit]



  • Biblical Hebrew has a very small number of words, about 8,000, with 1,700 of those words used only once. Modern Hebrew with about same alphabet has about 100,000 words.[7][8] For comparison modern English has over 450,000 words.[9][10] With Spanish having just over 175,000 words.[11] Standard English dictionaries typically have about 200,000 words, comparable Spanish dictionaries have about 80,000 words.[12][13]
  • Yom is also apparently accepted as a scrabble word with no definition.


  1. ^ Lexiconcordance.com Yom hebrew#3117
  2. ^ A Social History of Hebrew: Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period, page 10, By William M. Schniedewind
  3. ^ An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, page 48, By Bruce K. Waltke, Michael Patrick O'Connor
  4. ^ Strong's Hebrew Lexicon, yom, #3117.
  5. ^ The Hebrew Word “Yom” Used with a Number in Genesis 1, What does “yom” mean in Genesis 1?, by Rodney Whitefield, Ph.D. 12 June 2006
  6. ^ jewfaq.org, A Gentile's Guide to the Jewish Holidays
  7. ^ Biblical Words and Their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical Semantics, By Moisés Silva
  8. ^ Passport Israel 3rd Ed., page 12, By Donna Rosenthal
  9. ^ http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/JohnnyLing.shtml Number of Words in the English Language
  10. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, page 5a, edited by Philip Babcock Gove, Merriam-Webster, Inc
  11. ^ Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary
  12. ^ oxforddictionaries.com, How many words are there in the English language?
  13. ^ Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary, byMerriam-Webster, 80,000 entries