• synonyms


noun, plural Mar·ra·nos.
  1. a Spanish or Portuguese Jew who was converted to Christianity during the late Middle Ages, usually under threat of death or persecution, especially one who continued to adhere to Judaism in secret.
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Origin of Marrano

< Spanish: literally, pig, from the Jewish law forbidding the eating of pork (probably < Arabic maḥram forbidden)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for marrano

Historical Examples of marrano

  • Portugal fell to a Marrano physician who had escaped from the Inquisition.

    Dreamers of the Ghetto

    I. Zangwill

  • There were in Portugal hardly any but Jewish, that is to say, Marrano physicians.

  • Antonio de Montezinos was a Marrano, whom business or love of travel had led to America.

  • A Marrano physician named Jacob Zemach appears to have stood at their head.

  • A Marrano physician, who had escaped from Portugal, and was his devoted adherent, received the crown of Portugal.

British Dictionary definitions for marrano


noun plural -nos
  1. a Spanish or Portuguese Jew of the late Middle Ages who was converted to Christianity, esp one forcibly converted but secretly adhering to Judaism
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Word Origin for Marrano

from Spanish, literally: pig, with reference to the Jewish prohibition against eating pig meat
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 marrano



"Jew or Moor converted to Christianity," 1580s, from Spanish, probably literally "pig, swine," an expression of contempt, from Arabic muharram "forbidden thing" (eating of pork is forbidden by Muslim and Jewish religious law), from haruma "was forbidden" (see harem).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper