Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

philistine

[fil-uh-steen, -stahyn, fi-lis-tin, -teen] /ˈfɪl əˌstin, -ˌstaɪn, fɪˈlɪs tɪn, -tin/
noun
1.
(sometimes initial capital letter) a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.
2.
(initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia.
adjective
3.
(sometimes initial capital letter) lacking in or hostile to culture.
4.
smugly commonplace or conventional.
5.
(initial capital letter) of or belonging to the ancient Philistines.
Origin of philistine
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin Philistīnī (plural) < Late Greek Philistînoi < Hebrew pəlishtīm
Related forms
philistinism
[fil-uh-stee-niz-uh m, -stahy-, fi-lis-tuh-niz-uh m, -tee-] /ˈfɪl ə stiˌnɪz əm, -staɪ-, fɪˈlɪs təˌnɪz əm, -ti-/ (Show IPA),
noun
Synonyms
1. Babbitt, vulgarian. 3. lowbrow.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for philistine
Historical Examples
  • The philistine element in life is not the failure to understand art.

    De Profundis Oscar Wilde
  • We find Samson visiting his philistine wife, who remained with her kindred.

    The Truth About Woman C. Gasquoine Hartley
  • She labelled the Marchesino "philistine," and popped him into his drawer.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • For you must know that not every one you meet in Bohemia is not a philistine.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • I admit she is a philistine, appallingly ignorant, and her taste in art is false.

  • For even Delilah was a philistine, and by her perfidy served her country.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • He is one in revolt with Byron and Shelley against a philistine world.

  • What the deuce does this philistine mean by showing his dirty halfpence to me?

    A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai
  • He may have been a philistine, as Mr. Symonds calls him, but he was surely a philistine of genius.

  • So he goes; and in the rear with the philistine king, in the post of honour, as his bodyguard.

    True Words for Brave Men Charles Kingsley
British Dictionary definitions for philistine

Philistine

/ˈfɪlɪˌstaɪn/
noun
1.
a person who is unreceptive to or hostile towards culture, the arts, etc; a smug boorish person
2.
a member of the non-Semitic people who inhabited ancient Philistia
adjective
3.
(sometimes not capital) boorishly uncultured
4.
of or relating to the ancient Philistines
Derived Forms
Philistinism (ˈfɪlɪstɪˌnɪzəm) noun
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for philistine

Philistine

Old Testament people of coastal Palestine who made war on the Israelites, early 14c., from Old French Philistin, from Late Latin Philistinus, from Late Greek Philistinoi (plural), from Hebrew P'lishtim, "people of P'lesheth" ("Philistia"); cf. Akkad. Palastu, Egyptian Palusata; the word probably is the people's name for itself.

n.

"person deficient in liberal culture," 1827, originally in Carlyle, popularized by him and Matthew Arnold, from German Philister "enemy of God's word," literally "Philistine," inhabitants of a Biblical land, neighbors (and enemies) of Israel (see Philistine). Popularized in German student slang (supposedly first in Jena, late 17c.) as a contemptuous term for "townies," and hence, by extension, "any uncultured person." Philistine had been used in a humorous figurative sense of "the enemy" in English from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for philistine

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for philistine

15
17
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for philistine