A dreidel is a four sided spinning top that is used in a game played during Hannukah.
The letters on it are directives to the players of the game.
They’re the Hebrew letters N (Nun), G (Gimmel), H (Hay) and SH (Shin).
The game goes something like this: Kids gather around, and each gets the same number of coins, or gelt, which are chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.
They put one coin in the middle of the table, and each child gets a turn to spin the dreidel.
Whatever letter the dreidel stops on, the player must do what it directs.
N/Nun stands for nisht and means you do nothing. G/Gimmel is gahntz, which means “all”, the player gets to take everything from the middle.
H/Hay represents hahlb, or “half,” so the player may take half of the pile.
SH/Shin means shtel, or “put in” one item.