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[dur-vish] /ˈdɜr vɪʃ/
a member of any of various Muslim ascetic orders, as the Sufis, some of which carry on ecstatic observances, such as energetic dancing and whirling or vociferous chanting or shouting.
Origin of dervish
1575-85; < Turkish < Persian darvīsh poor man, beggar Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dervish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So he done it, and they separated and the dervish started off again with his forty.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • And this time the thing he wanted was to get the dervish to rub some of the salve on his other eye.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Which is a mortal task for the dervish in the presence of the Enchantress.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • There, the dervish is thrown into the cauldron along with the magic herbs.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • And here, the hospitality of the dervish does not belie his Arab blood.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • No dervish could take you for a white man, unless he was mad.

    In the Mahdi's Grasp George Manville Fenn
  • Once Ibrahim asked a dervish, "Have you a wife and children?"

  • It is said that among them was a dervish who asked him, "What is love?"

  • HE has got on a black gown and cap, something like the dervish.

    Roundabout Papers William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for dervish


a member of any of various Muslim orders of ascetics, some of which (whirling dervishes) are noted for a frenzied, ecstatic, whirling dance
Derived Forms
dervish-like, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Turkish: beggar, from Persian darvīsh mendicant monk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dervish

1580s, from Turkish dervish, from Persian darvesh, darvish "beggar, poor," hence "religious mendicant;" equivalent of Arabic faqir (cf. fakir). The "whirling dervishes" are just one order among many. Originally dervis; modern spelling is from mid-19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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