[ fair-oh, far-oh, fey-roh ]
/ ˈfɛər oʊ, ˈfær oʊ, ˈfeɪ roʊ /


a title of an ancient Egyptian king.
(lowercase) any person who uses power or authority to oppress others; tyrant.

Origin of Pharaoh

before 900; Middle English Pharao, Old English Pharaon < Latin pharaō < Greek pharaṓ (stem pharaōn-) < Hebrew phārʿōh < Egyptian pr house + ʿʾ great; originally a designation for the palace, but used to refer to the king from the time of Akhenaton (14th cent. b.c.); -h restored from Hebrew Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pharaohs

British Dictionary definitions for pharaohs


/ (ˈfɛərəʊ) /


the title of the ancient Egyptian kings

Derived Forms

Pharaonic (fɛəˈrɒnɪk), adjective

Word Origin for Pharaoh

Old English Pharaon, via Latin, Greek, and Hebrew ultimately from Egyptian pr-`o great house
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

Culture definitions for pharaohs (1 of 2)


[ (fair-ohz, fay-rohz) ]

The kings of ancient Egypt (see also Egypt). The pharaohs headed strong governments. They are remembered for establishing extensive irrigation systems and for building as tombs the imposing pyramids, which still stand today.


In the biblical account of the Exodus, a pharaoh refused to let the Israelites under Moses leave Egypt.

Culture definitions for pharaohs (2 of 2)


[ (fair-oh, fay-roh) ]

The title of the kings of ancient Egypt (see also Egypt). In the story of Joseph and his brothers, a pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of his entire kingdom. In the Book of Exodus, a pharaoh repeatedly refuses the request of Moses to let the Israelites leave the country and does not give in until after the worst of the ten plagues of Egypt.

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.