a member of the Semitic peoples inhabiting ancient Palestine and claiming descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; an Israelite.
a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic family, the language of the ancient Hebrews, which, although not in a vernacular use from 100 b.c. to the 20th century, was retained as the scholarly and liturgical language of Jews and is now the national language of Israel. Abbreviation: Heb
noting or pertaining to the script developed from the Aramaic and early Hebraic alphabets, used since about the 3rd century b.c. for the writing of Hebrew, and later for Yiddish, Ladino, and other languages.
Origin of Hebrew
before 1000;Middle EnglishHebreu, variant (with H- < Latin) of Ebreu < Old French < Medieval LatinEbrēus for LatinHebraeus < Late GreekHebraîos < AramaicʿIbhraij; replacing Old EnglishEbrēas (plural) < Medieval LatinEbrēī
Related formsnon-He·brew, noun, adjectivepre-He·brew, adjective, noun
late Old English, from Old French Ebreu, from Latin Hebraeus, from Greek Hebraios, from Aramaic 'ebhrai, corresponding to Hebrew 'ibhri "an Israelite," literally "one from the other side," in reference to the River Euphrates, or perhaps simply signifying "immigrant;" from 'ebher "region on the other or opposite side." The noun is c.1200, "the Hebrew language;" late 14c. of persons, originally "a biblical Jew, Israelite."