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  1. a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist movement engaged in grass-roots organizing and armed resistance and terrorism against Israel.

Origin of Hamas

From the Arabic word hamas, literally, zeal


[hah-mah, hah-mah]
  1. a city in W Syria, on the Orontes River.
Ancient Epiphania.Biblical name Hamath.
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British Dictionary definitions for hamas


  1. an organization founded in 1987 with the aim of establishing an Islamic state in Palestine

Word Origin

C20: Arabic: zeal; also an acronym for haraka muqawama islamia Islamic Armed Movement


  1. a city in W Syria, on the Orontes River: an early Hittite settlement; famous for its huge water wheels, used for irrigation since the Middle Ages. Pop: 439 000 (2005 est)Biblical name: Hamath
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

hamas in Culture


A radical Palestinian organization founded in 1987 in opposition to the moderate policies of the Palestine Liberation Organization. In a controversial move, Yasir Arafat has brought members of Hamas into positions of authority within the Palestinian Authority. Hamas sponsors terrorism directed at Israel, especially in the form of suicide bombers in crowded places.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.