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Essene

[es-een, e-seen]
noun Judaism.
  1. a member of a Palestinian sect, characterized by asceticism, celibacy, and joint holding of property, that flourished from the 2nd century b.c. to the 2nd century a.d.
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Related formsEs·se·ni·an [e-see-nee-uh n] /ɛˈsi ni ən/, Es·sen·ic [e-sen-ik] /ɛˈsɛn ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for essene

Essene

noun
  1. Judaism a member of an ascetic sect that flourished in Palestine from the second century bc to the second century ad, living in strictly organized communities
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Derived FormsEssenian (ɛˈsiːnɪən) or Essenic (ɛˈsɛnɪk), adjective
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

Word Origin and History for essene

Essene

n.

1550s, member of a Jewish sect (first recorded 2c. B.C.E.), from Latin, from Greek Essenoi, of disputed etymology, perhaps from Hebrew tzenum "the modest ones," or Hebrew hashaim "the silent ones." Klein suggests Syriac hasen, plural absolute state of hase "pious."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper