Pharisee

[far-uh-see]
See more synonyms for Pharisee on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. 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.
  2. (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. 2018


Examples from the Web for pharisees

Contemporary Examples of pharisees

  • This latter group shortly came to be known as the Pharisees.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Don't Let the Maccabees Win

    Matt Lerner

    December 4, 2013

  • Pharisees and scribes are reduced stock villains with caricatured Jewish features.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Jesus: Not a Meek Hippy

    David Frum

    December 24, 2012

  • The Hasmonean monarchs who got themselves disliked by the Pharisees must therefore be villains.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Real Story of Hanukkah

    David Frum

    December 15, 2012

  • That family soon fell afoul of the leading religious authorities of their day, the people known to history as the Pharisees.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Real Story of Hanukkah

    David Frum

    December 15, 2012

Historical Examples of pharisees


British Dictionary definitions for pharisees

Pharisee

noun
  1. 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
  2. (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

Word Origin and History for pharisees

Pharisee

n.

from Old English Fariseos, Old French pharise (13c.), and directly from Late Latin Pharisæus, from Greek Pharisaios, from Aramaic perishayya, emphatic plural of perish "separated, separatist," corresponding to Hebrew parush, from parash "he separated." Ancient Jewish sect (2c. B.C.E.-1c. C.E.) distinguished by strict observance but regarded as pretentious and self-righteous, at least by Jesus (Matt. xxiii:27). Meaning "self-righteous person, formalist, hypocrite" is attested from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pharisees in Culture

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.