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[fair-oh, far-oh, fey-roh] /ˈfɛər oʊ, ˈfær oʊ, ˈfeɪ roʊ/
a title of an ancient Egyptian king.
(lowercase) any person who uses power or authority to oppress others; tyrant.
Origin of Pharaoh
before 900; Middle English Pharao, Old English Pharaon < Latin pharaō < Greek pharaṓ (stem pharaōn-) < Hebrew phārʿōh < Egyptian pr house + ʿʾ great; originally a designation for the palace, but used to refer to the king from the time of Akhenaton (14th cent. b.c.); -h restored from Hebrew Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Pharaoh
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Pharaoh of Joseph's time seems to have affiliated with the Israelites as natural friends,--to assist him in case of war.

  • Pharaoh however, strangely enough, did not seem to take to this suggestion.

    A Tale of Three Lions H. Rider Haggard
  • He had seen Ninus in pride and pomp of warlike power, Pharaoh dazzling in the blaze of his golden throne.

    Sarchedon G. J. (George John) Whyte-Melville
  • But Pharaoh waved his sceptre, and they were still, only Abi cried in a great voice.

    Morning Star H. Rider Haggard
  • Once in the hands of the Pharaoh, Ra'hel's rival would be unable to escape; the granite walls of the palace would keep their prey.

British Dictionary definitions for Pharaoh


the title of the ancient Egyptian kings
Derived Forms
Pharaonic (fɛəˈrɒnɪk) adjective
Word Origin
Old English Pharaon, via Latin, Greek, and Hebrew ultimately from Egyptian pr-`o great house
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 Pharaoh



title of the kings of ancient Egypt, Old English Pharon, from Latin Pharaonem, from Greek Pharao, from Hebrew Par'oh, from Egyptian Pero', literally "great house."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Pharaoh in Culture
pharaoh [(fair-oh, fay-roh)]

The title of the kings of ancient Egypt. In the story of Joseph and his brothers, a pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of his entire kingdom. In the Book of Exodus, a pharaoh repeatedly refuses the request of Moses to let the Israelites leave the country and does not give in until after the worst of the ten plagues of Egypt.

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