Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 26, 2021 is:
megillah muh-GHIL-uh noun
1 slang : a long involved story or account
2 slang a : an elaborate, complicated production or sequence of events
b : everything involved in what is under consideration : ball of wax
“Well, one fine day last spring, I was laying off for a week at the Americana in New York when Solly phones me—a megillah about this inspiration that he and some other bookers had that morning in the steam room.” — S. J. Perelman, The New Yorker, 18 Aug. 1965
“We’ll have more on ‘Manbird’ when the whole megillah drops September 18, but for now, the buoyant first single of the same name is available to stream.” — Aaron Davis, The Sacramento (California) Bee, 25 Aug. 2020
Did you know?
Although megillah is a slang word in English, it has perfectly respectable Hebrew origins. Megillah derives from the Yiddish megile, which itself comes from the Hebrew word mĕgillāh, meaning “scroll” or “volume.” (Mĕgillāh is especially likely to be used in reference to the Book of Esther, which is read aloud at Purim celebrations.) It makes sense, then, that when megillah first appeared in English in the mid-20th century, it referred to a story that was so long (and often tedious or complicated) that it was reminiscent of the length of the mĕgillāh scrolls. The Hebrew word is serious, but the Yiddish megile can be somewhat playful, and our megillah has also inherited that lightheartedness.