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[es-een, e-seen] /ˈɛs in, ɛˈsin/
noun, Judaism.
a member of a Palestinian sect, characterized by asceticism, celibacy, and joint holding of property, that flourished from the 2nd century b.c. to the 2nd century a.d.
Related forms
[e-see-nee-uh n] /ɛˈsi ni ən/ (Show IPA),
[e-sen-ik] /ɛˈsɛn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for essenes


/ˈɛsiːn; ɛˈsiːn/
(Judaism) a member of an ascetic sect that flourished in Palestine from the second century bc to the second century ad, living in strictly organized communities
Derived Forms
Essenian (ɛˈsiːnɪən), Essenic (ɛˈsɛnɪk) adjective
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 essenes



1550s, member of a Jewish sect (first recorded 2c. B.C.E.), from Latin, from Greek Essenoi, of disputed etymology, perhaps from Hebrew tzenum "the modest ones," or Hebrew hashaim "the silent ones." Klein suggests Syriac hasen, plural absolute state of hase "pious."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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essenes in the Bible

a Jewish mystical sect somewhat resembling the Pharisees. They affected great purity. They originated about B.C. 100, and disappeared from history after the destruction of Jerusalem. They are not directly mentioned in Scripture, although they may be referred to in Matt. 19:11, 12, Col. 2:8, 18, 23.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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