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[suh-fahr-dim, -fahr-deem] /səˈfɑr dɪm, -fɑrˈdim/
plural noun, singular Sephardi
[suh-fahr-dee, suh-fahr-dee] /səˈfɑr di, sə fɑrˈdi/ (Show IPA)
Jews of Spain and Portugal or their descendants, distinguished from the Ashkenazim and other Jewish communities chiefly by their liturgy, religious customs, and pronunciation of Hebrew: after expulsion from Spain and Portugal in 1492, established communities in North Africa, the Balkans, Western Europe, and elsewhere.
Origin of Sephardim
1850-55; < Modern Hebrew Səphāraddīm, plural of Səphāraddī, equivalent to < Hebrew Səphāradh (region mentioned in Bible (Obadiah 20) and assumed to be Spain) + suffix of appurtenance
Related forms
Sephardic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sephardi
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • These things are an instinct with every right-minded sephardi.

    The King of Schnorrers Israel Zangwill
  • Why should I not permit you, a Tedesco, to return the hospitality to me, a sephardi?

    The King of Schnorrers Israel Zangwill
  • Manasseh added winningly: "I know you are a gentleman, capable of behaving as finely as any sephardi."

    The King of Schnorrers Israel Zangwill
  • What have they to say against a sephardi marrying a Tedesco?

    The King of Schnorrers Israel Zangwill
  • What a bad effect it would have on Yankelé if a sephardi was seen to vow with impunity!

    The King of Schnorrers Israel Zangwill
British Dictionary definitions for sephardi


noun (Judaism) (pl) -dim (-dɪm)
  1. a Jew of Spanish, Portuguese, or North African descent
  2. (loosely) any Oriental Jew
the pronunciation of Hebrew used by these Jews, and of Modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel
(modifier) of or pertaining to the Sephardim, esp to their liturgy and ritual
(modifier) of or pertaining to the liturgy adopted by certain European, esp Chassidic, communities who believe it to be more authentic but nonetheless differing from the genuine Oriental liturgy
Compare Ashkenazi
Derived Forms
Sephardic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Late Hebrew, from Hebrew sepharad a region mentioned in Obadiah 20, thought to have been Spain
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 sephardi


plural of Sephardi "a Spanish or Portuguese Jew" (1851), from Modern Hebrew Sepharaddim "Spaniards, Jews of Spain," from Sepharad, name of a country mentioned only in Obad. v:20, probably meaning "Asia Minor" or a part of it (Lydia, Phrygia), but identified by the rabbis after the Jonathan Targum as "Spain." Related: Sephardic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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