- (sometimes initial capital letter) a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.
- (initial capital letter) a native or inhabitant of ancient Philistia.
- (sometimes initial capital letter) lacking in or hostile to culture.
- smugly commonplace or conventional.
- (initial capital letter) of or belonging to the ancient Philistines.
Origin of philistine
SynonymsSee more synonyms for philistine on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for philistine
The Philistine element in life is not the failure to understand art.De Profundis
We find Samson visiting his Philistine wife, who remained with her kindred.The Truth About Woman
C. Gasquoine Hartley
She labelled the Marchesino "Philistine," and popped him into his drawer.A Spirit in Prison
For you must know that not every one you meet in Bohemia is not a Philistine.The Book of Khalid
I admit she is a Philistine, appallingly ignorant, and her taste in art is false.Where Angels Fear to Tread
E. M. Forster
- a person who is unreceptive to or hostile towards culture, the arts, etc; a smug boorish person
- a member of the non-Semitic people who inhabited ancient Philistia
- (sometimes not capital) boorishly uncultured
- of or relating to the ancient Philistines
Word Origin and History for philistine
Old Testament people of coastal Palestine who made war on the Israelites, early 14c., from Old French Philistin, from Late Latin Philistinus, from Late Greek Philistinoi (plural), from Hebrew P'lishtim, "people of P'lesheth" ("Philistia"); cf. Akkad. Palastu, Egyptian Palusata; the word probably is the people's name for itself.
"person deficient in liberal culture," 1827, originally in Carlyle, popularized by him and Matthew Arnold, from German Philister "enemy of God's word," literally "Philistine," inhabitants of a Biblical land, neighbors (and enemies) of Israel (see Philistine). Popularized in German student slang (supposedly first in Jena, late 17c.) as a contemptuous term for "townies," and hence, by extension, "any uncultured person." Philistine had been used in a humorous figurative sense of "the enemy" in English from c.1600.