• synonyms


[iz-ree-uh-lahyt, -rey-]
  1. a descendant of Jacob, especially a member of the Hebrew people who inhabited the ancient kingdom of Israel.
  2. one of a group considered by its members or by others as God's chosen people.
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  1. of or relating to ancient Israel or its people; Hebrew.
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Origin of Israelite

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at Israel, -ite1
Related formsnon-Is·ra·el·ite, nounpre-Is·ra·el·ite, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for israelites


  1. Bible a member of the ethnic group claiming descent from Jacob; a Hebrew
  2. Bible a citizen of the kingdom of Israel (922 to 721 bc) as opposed to Judah
  3. a member of any of various Christian sects who regard themselves as God's chosen people
  4. an archaic and sometimes offensive word for a Jew
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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 israelites



late 14c., from Latin israelita, from Greek Israelites, from Israel (see Israel).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

israelites in Culture


The descendants of Jacob, who made up twelve tribes, including the tribes of Judah, Levi, Reuben, and Benjamin.

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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.