noun Judaism.
  1. a member of a sect, founded in Persia in the 8th century a.d. by the religious leader Anan ben David, that rejected the Talmud and the teachings of the rabbis in favor of strict adherence to the Bible as the only source of Jewish law and practice.
Compare Rabbinite.

Origin of Karaite

1720–30; < Hebrew qarāʿ(īm) (equivalent to qarā Biblical scholar, literally, reader + īm plural suffix) + -ite1
Related formsKar·a·ism [kar-uh-iz-uh m] /ˈkær əˌɪz əm/, Kar·a·it·ism [kar-uh-ahy-tiz-uh m] /ˈkær ə aɪˌtɪz əm/, nounKar·a·it·ic [kar-uh-it-ik] /ˌkær əˈɪt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for karaite


  1. a member of a Jewish sect originating in the 8th century ad, which rejected the Talmud, favoured strict adherence to and a literal interpretation of the Bible, and attempted to deduce a code of life from it
  1. of, relating to, or designating the Karaite sect

Word Origin for Karaite

C18: from Hebrew qāraīm members of the sect, scripturalists, from qārā to read
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