[joo-dee-iz-uh m, -dey-, -duh-]
  1. the monotheistic religion of the Jews, having its ethical, ceremonial, and legal foundation in the precepts of the Old Testament and in the teachings and commentaries of the rabbis as found chiefly in the Talmud.Compare Conservative Jew, Orthodox Jew, Reform Jew.
  2. belief in and conformity to this religion, its practices, and ceremonies.
  3. this religion considered as forming the basis of the cultural and social identity of the Jews: He called assimilation a threat to American Judaism.
  4. Jews collectively; Jewry.

Origin of Judaism

1485–95; < Late Latin jūdaismus < Greek ioudaismós, equivalent to Ioudaî(os) Jew + -ismos -ism
Related formsan·ti-Ju·da·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for judaism


  1. the religion of the Jews, based on the Old Testament and the Talmud and having as its central point a belief in the one God as transcendent creator of all things and the source of all righteousness
  2. the religious and cultural traditions, customs, attitudes, and way of life of the Jews
Derived FormsJudaistic, adjective
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 judaism



c.1400 (attested in Anglo-Latin from mid-13c.), from Old French Judaisme and directly from Late Latin Judaismus (Tertullian), from Greek Ioudaismos, from Ioudaios "Jew" (see Jew). The Anglo-Latin reference is from a special tax levied on the Jews of England. Earlier in same sense was Juhede "Jewish faith, Judaism," literally "Jew-hood" (early 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

judaism in Culture


The religion of the Israelites of the Bible (see also Bible) and of the Jews (see also Jews) of today, based on the teachings of the Torah. Judaism involves the belief in one God, whose Chosen People are the Jews. Abraham is considered the founder of Judaism, although Moses, who delivered the laws of God to the Israelites, is also an important figure.

The holy days and festivals of Judaism include Hanukkah, Passover (see also Passover), Purim, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. (See also Sabbath.)


A symbol (see also symbol) of Judaism, the Star of David is a six-pointed star, formed by placing two triangles together, one upon the other, or interlaced.
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.