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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pharaohs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Long before the pharaohs she was petted, and even held sacred.

  • The religion of Rome is called in these verses "the Faith of the pharaohs."

    Henry of Monmouth, Volume 2 J. Endell Tyler
  • Philosophers as well as immemorial kings, pharaohs and Ptolemys, are on our side.

    The Library Andrew Lang
  • It certainly was before the pharaohs and perhaps before the glacial epoch.


    William Graham Sumner
  • Would they wed and bear children there, who should rule as pharaohs in the Under-world?

    Morning Star H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for pharaohs


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 pharaohs



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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pharaohs in Culture
pharaohs [(fair-ohz, fay-rohz)]

The kings of ancient Egypt. The pharaohs headed strong governments. They are remembered for establishing extensive irrigation systems and for building as tombs the imposing pyramids, which still stand today.

Note: In the biblical account of the Exodus, a pharaoh refused to let the Israelites under Moses leave Egypt.
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 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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