Abbreviation of עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם (with a masculine singular subject), עָלֶיהָ הַשָּׁלוֹם (with a feminine singular subject), עֲלֵיהֶם הַשָּׁלוֹם (with a masculine plural subject), or עֲלֵיהֶן הַשָּׁלוֹם (with a feminine plural subject). Hence literally “on-him/her/them the-peace”.
Pronounced as if it were spelled out. See Etymology, above.
- In form, this expression expresses the desire that a deceased person’s soul be at peace, but in practice, it often serves mostly as a way of indicating that the person is deceased. Indeed, it is sometimes used after other noun phrases (besides people’s names) to indicate jokingly that a thing is dead or defunct.