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[pal-uh-stahyn for 1, 2; pal-uh-steen for 3]
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  1. Also called Holy Land. Biblical name Canaan. an ancient country in SW Asia, on the E coast of the Mediterranean.
  2. a former British mandate (1923–48) comprising part of this country, divided between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt in 1948: the Jordanian and Egyptian parts were occupied by Israel in 1967.
  3. a city in E Texas.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for palestine


  1. Also called: the Holy Land, Canaan the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in which most of the biblical narrative is located
  2. the province of the Roman Empire in this region
  3. the former British mandatory territory created by the League of Nations in 1922 (but effective from 1920), and including all of the present territories of Israel and Jordan between whom it was partitioned by the UN in 1948
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

Word Origin and History for palestine


from Latin Palestina (name of a Roman province), from Greek Palaistine (Herodotus), from Hebrew Pelesheth "Philistia, land of the Philistines." Revived as an official political territorial name 1920 with the British mandate.

Under Turkish rule, Palestine was part of three administrative regions: the Vilayet of Beirut, the Independent Sanjak of Jerusalem, and the Vilayet of Damascus. In 1917 the country was conquered by British forces who held it under occupation until the mandate was established April 25, 1920, by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers at San Remo. During the occupation Palestine formed "Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (South)," with headquarters at Jerusalem.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

palestine in Culture


Historic region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, comprising parts of modern Israel, Jordan, and Egypt (see also Egypt).


Known as the Holy Land, it is a place of pilgrimage for several religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.


Israel, the homeland of the Jews (see also Jews), was established in Palestine in 1948. The Palestine Liberation Organization, under Yasir Arafat, is committed to establishing a Palestinian state, which would include territory on the West Bank and Gaza Strip now partially occupied by Israel. (See Arab-Israeli conflict, intifada, Oslo Accord, Palestinian Authority.)
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.