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90s Slang You Should Know


[fil-uh-steen, -stahyn, fi-lis-tin, -teen] /ˈfɪl əˌstin, -ˌstaɪn, fɪˈlɪs tɪn, -tin/
(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.
(initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia.
(sometimes initial capital letter) lacking in or hostile to culture.
smugly commonplace or conventional.
(initial capital letter) of or belonging to the ancient Philistines.
Origin of philistine
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin Philistīnī (plural) < Late Greek Philistînoi < Hebrew pəlishtīm
Related forms
[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),
1. Babbitt, vulgarian. 3. lowbrow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for philistine
Historical Examples
  • Is there such a dearth of lilies in our Israelitish gardens that you must wear on your heart a philistine thistle?

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
  • I'm a philistine, and not ashamed; so was Molière—so was Cervantes.

    The Martian George Du Maurier
  • The impression to the contrary on the part of the philistine is a delusion, a false security.

    Prose Fancies Richard Le Gallienne
  • If he had philistine feelings, he indulged them without shame.

    Visions and Revisions John Cowper Powys
  • If he really means to fight, he is not such a philistine as we thought!'

    Greifenstein F. Marion Crawford
  • When Saul and all the Israelites heard these words of the philistine, they were terrified.

    The Children's Bible Henry A. Sherman
  • I admit she is a philistine, appallingly ignorant, and her taste in art is false.

  • He is one in revolt with Byron and Shelley against a philistine world.

  • And the philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.

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

    A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai
British Dictionary definitions for philistine


a person who is unreceptive to or hostile towards culture, the arts, etc; a smug boorish person
a member of the non-Semitic people who inhabited ancient Philistia
(sometimes not capital) boorishly uncultured
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
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Word Origin and History for 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.


"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
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