also halleluiah, 1530s, from Late Latin hallelujah, alleluia, from Greek allelouia, from Hebrew hallalu-yah "praise ye Jehovah," from hallalu, plural imperative of hallel "to praise" also "song of praise," from hillel "he praised," of imitative origin, with primary sense being "to trill." Second element is yah, shortened form of Yahweh, name of God. Earlier English form alleluia (12c.) is from Old French alleluie.
updated on May 13, 2015