good Samaritan

or good sa·mar·i·tan

[ goodsuh-mar-i-tn ]

  1. one who is compassionate and helpful to a person in distress.

Origin of good Samaritan

First recorded in 1840–50; from the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30–37.

Words Nearby good Samaritan Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use good Samaritan in a sentence

  • He was a good Samaritan and unafraid, who is affectionately remembered by a grateful foe.

    Historic Fredericksburg | John T. Goolrick
  • I came upon your little daughter not long since playing the part of the good Samaritan to Raulsburys poor old horse.

    Three Little Women | Gabrielle E. Jackson
  • The words and the expressions on the countenances of the others caused the truth to flash upon the good Samaritan.

    The Phantom of the River | Edward S. Ellis
  • We can thus understand the point of the local saying, "It is time for a good Samaritan to come."

    The Cornwall Coast | Arthur L. Salmon
  • Revolutionary socialism is the good Samaritan of the despoiled and wounded laborer.

    Communism and Christianism | William Montgomery Brown

British Dictionary definitions for Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan

  1. New Testament a figure in one of Christ's parables (Luke 10:30–37) who is an example of compassion towards those in distress

  2. a kindly person who helps another in difficulty or distress

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

Cultural definitions for Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan

[ (suh-mar-uh-tuhn) ]

In one of the parables of Jesus, the only one of several passersby to come to the aid of a Jew (see also Jews) who had been robbed, beaten, and left to die on the roadside. The kindness of the Samaritan was particularly admirable because Jews and Samaritans (i.e., people of Samaria) were generally enemies. Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to answer a man who had asked him, “Who is my neighbor?” He forced his questioner to admit that the Samaritan was the true neighbor of the man who had been robbed.

Notes for Good Samaritan

Figuratively, “Good Samaritans” are persons who go out of their way to perform acts of kindness to others, especially strangers.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with good Samaritan

good Samaritan

A compassionate person who unselfishly helps others, as in In this neighborhood you can't count on a good Samaritan if you get in trouble. This expression alludes to Jesus's parable about a Samaritan who rescues and cares for a stranger who had been robbed and badly hurt and had been ignored by a priest and a Levite (Luke 10:30–35). The Samaritans were considered a heretical group by other Jews, so by using a Samaritan for the parable, Jesus chose a person whom his listeners would find least likely to be worthy of concern. [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.