[joo-duh s]
  1. Also called Judas Iscariot. the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Mark 3:19.
  2. a person treacherous enough to betray a friend; traitor.
  3. Also called Saint Judas, Saint Jude. one of the 12 apostles (not Judas Iscariot). Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13; John 14:22.
  4. a brother of James (and possibly of Jesus). Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3.
  5. (usually lowercase) Also called judas hole. a peephole, as in an entrance door or the door of a prison cell.
  1. (of an animal) used as a decoy to lead other animals to slaughter: A Judas goat led sheep into the abattoir.
Related formsJu·das·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for judas iscariot


  1. (sometimes capital) a peephole or a very small window in a doorAlso called: judas window, judas hole

Word Origin for judas

C19: after Judas Iscariot


  1. New Testament the apostle who betrayed Jesus to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver (Luke 22:3–6, 47–48)Full name: Judas Iscariot
  2. a person who betrays a friend; traitor
  3. a brother or relative of James and also of Jesus (Matthew 13:55). This figure, Thaddaeus, and Jude were probably identical
  1. denoting an animal or bird used to lure others of its kind or lead them to slaughter
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 judas iscariot


biblical betrayer of Christ, Latin form of Greek Ioudas, from Hebrew Yehudha (see Judah). As a name for a malicious traitor, it is attested from late 15c. Judas priest as an exclamation in place of "Jesus Christ" is from 1914. Judas tree (1660s) supposedly was the type from which Judas hanged himself. The Judas goat (1941) leads sheep to the shackling pen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

judas iscariot in Culture

Judas Iscariot

[(jooh-duhs i-skar-ee-uht)]

The Apostle who betrayed Jesus to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver. When soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Judas identified their victim by kissing him. The next day, driven by guilt, Judas hanged himself.


Figuratively, a “Judas” is a betrayer, especially one who betrays a friend.


A “Judas kiss” is an act of seeming friendship that conceals some treachery.
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.