[ish-mee-uh l, -mey-]


the son of Abraham and Hagar: both he and Hagar were cast out of Abraham's family by Sarah. Gen. 16:11, 12.
any outcast.
an Arab.

Origin of Ishmael

From the Hebrew word Yishmāʿēl literally, God will hear Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ishmael

Contemporary Examples of ishmael

Historical Examples of ishmael

  • After all, if the truth were known, they are sons of Ishmael.'


    Benjamin Disraeli

  • He would depopulate my empire, that it might not be said that Ishmael shared the heritage of Israel.


    Benjamin Disraeli

  • Davies, my friend, there is a man who is a veritable Ishmael.

    Under Fire

    Charles King

  • Could the stranger be that wandering Ishmael of the sea—Peese?

  • As a people, they are chiefly the descendants of Esau and Ishmael.

British Dictionary definitions for ishmael



the son of Abraham and Hagar, Sarah's handmaid: the ancestor of 12 Arabian tribes (Genesis 21:8–21; 25:12–18)
a bandit chieftain, who defied the Babylonian conquerors of Judah and assassinated the governor appointed by Nebuchadnezzar (II Kings 25:25; Jeremiah 40:13–41:18)
rare an outcast
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 ishmael


masc. proper name, biblical son of Abraham and Hagar, from Hebrew Yishma'el, literally "God hears," from yishma, imperf. of shama "he heard." The Arabs claim descent from him. Figurative sense of "an outcast," "whose hand is against every man, and every man's hand against him" is from Gen. xvi:12.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper