[laz-er-uh s]
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  1. the diseased beggar in the parable of the rich man and the beggar. Luke 16:19–31.
  2. a brother of Mary and Martha whom Jesus raised from the dead. John 11:1–44; 12:1–18.
  3. Emma,1849–87, U.S. poet.

Origin of Lazarus

< Late Latin < Greek Lázaros < Hebrew Elʿāzār Eleazar (one God has helped) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for lazarus


noun New Testament
  1. the brother of Mary and Martha, whom Jesus restored to life (John 11–12)
  2. the beggar who lay at the gate of the rich man Dives in Jesus' parable (Luke 16:19–31)
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 lazarus


Biblical character (Luke xvi:20), the poor man covered in sores; his name was extended in medieval usage to "any poor and visibly diseased person" (cf. lazar, mid-14c., "one deformed and nauseous with filthy and pestilential diseases" [Johnson]). The name is from a Greek rendition of Hebrew El'azar, literally "God has helped."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lazarus in Culture



A man brought back to life by Jesus after being in the tomb for four days. The incident is recorded in the Gospel of John. The raising of Lazarus is considered the crowning miracle or sign revealing Jesus as the giver of life. It also is the act that caused the enemies of Jesus to begin the plan to put Jesus to death. (See Crucifixion.)


Someone who makes a comeback from obscurity is sometimes called a “Lazarus rising from the dead.”
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.