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.

Origin of Marrano

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

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Historical Examples of marrano

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

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper