[ mak-uh-beez ]


  1. (used with a plural verb) the members of the Hasmonean family of Jewish leaders and rulers comprising the sons of Mattathias and their descendants and reigning in Judea from 167? to 37 b.c., especially Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers, who defeated the Syrians under Antiochus IV in 165? and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem.
  2. (used with a singular verb) either of two books of the Apocrypha, I Maccabees or II Maccabees, that contain the history of the Maccabees.


/ ˈmækəˌbiːz /


  1. a Jewish family of patriots who freed Judaea from Seleucid oppression (168–142 bc )
  2. any of four books of Jewish history, including the last two of the Apocrypha


  1. According to two books of the Apocrypha , a family of Jewish patriots active in the liberation of Judea from Syrian rule. The Maccabees established a line of priest-kings that lasted until the rule of Herod the Great .

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Example Sentences

Upon entering Jerusalem, the Maccabees saw that there was only enough oil to light the Temple’s eternal flame for one night.

The traditionalist Maccabees might have been victorious in 160 BCE, but for seven years afterwards the priesthood lay empty because they had no strong candidates who could play nice with foreign rulers.

Have a happy Hannukah, but please remember: don't let the Maccabees win.

I promise you in the spirit of the Maccabees, we will not allow Iran to receive a military nuclear capability.

True, the Maccabees were defending the God of Torah and Law.

A truly original approach might be to portray the second-century B.C. Maccabees speaking like rappers.

I put my heart and soul into my screenplay about the Maccabees for deeply personal reasons.

Respecting the origin of this sect nothing certain is known, beyond that they were in existence at the time of the Maccabees.

Then they were crushed by the wars which are explained in the books of the Maccabees.

And it is mentioned by the author of the book of Maccabees, that the Jews, upon a solemn occasion, entered the temple.

The result was the glorious revolt of the Jews under Mattathias and his sons—the family of the Maccabees.

But the question that concerns us most is, whether the writer of First Maccabees actually reckoned by Macedonian months?


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[ak-suh-lot-l ]

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