[jezh-oo-it, jez-oo-, jez-yoo-]


a member of a Roman Catholic religious order (Society of Jesus) founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1534.
(often lowercase) a crafty, intriguing, or equivocating person: so called in allusion to the methods ascribed to the order by its opponents.


of or relating to Jesuits or Jesuitism.

Origin of Jesuit

1550–60; < New Latin Jēsuita, equivalent to Latin Jēsu(s) + -ita -ite1

Related formsan·ti-Jes·u·it, noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jesuit

British Dictionary definitions for jesuit



a member of a Roman Catholic religious order (the Society of Jesus) founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola in 1534 with the aims of defending the papacy and Catholicism against the Reformation and to undertake missionary work among the heathen
(sometimes not capital) informal, offensive a person given to subtle and equivocating arguments; casuist
Derived FormsJesuitic or Jesuitical, adjectiveJesuitically, adverb

Word Origin for Jesuit

C16: from New Latin Jēsuita, from Late Latin Jēsus + -ita -ite 1

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 jesuit


1540s, from Modern Latin Jesuita, member of the Society of Jesus, founded 1533 by Ignatius Loyola to combat Protestantism. Their enemies (in both Catholic and Protestant lands) accused them of belief that ends justify means, hence the sense "a dissembling person" (1630s), and jesuitical "deceitful" (1610s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper