Pharisee

[ far-uh-see ]
/ ˈfær əˌsi /

noun

a member of a Jewish sect that flourished during the 1st century b.c. and 1st century a.d. and that differed from the Sadducees chiefly in its strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and belief in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah.
(lowercase) a sanctimonious, self-righteous, or hypocritical person.

Origin of Pharisee

before 900; Middle English Pharise, Farise, Old English Farīsēus < Late Latin Pharīsēus, variant of Pharīsaeus < Greek Pharīsaîos < Aramaic pərīshayyā, plural of pərīshā literally, separated
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pharisees

British Dictionary definitions for pharisees

Pharisee

/ (ˈfærɪˌsiː) /

noun

Judaism a member of an ancient Jewish sect that was opposed to the Sadducees, teaching strict observance of Jewish tradition as interpreted rabbinically and believing in life after death and in the coming of the Messiah
(often not capital) a self-righteous or hypocritical person

Word Origin for Pharisee

Old English Farīsēus, ultimately from Aramaic perīshāiyā, pl of perīsh separated
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 pharisees

Pharisees

[ (far-uh-seez) ]

A group of teachers among the Jews (see also Jews) at the time of Jesus; he frequently rebukes them in the Gospels for their hypocrisy. Jesus says they are like “the blind leading the blind,” or like “whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.”

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.