- (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 philistines
He was wrong, of course, even scripturally: the Philistines loved Goliath.Shaq, Year One
Charles P. Pierce
May 24, 2014
As for the war between the Philistines and the Jews, it never came to an end.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
She accordingly removed with her family into the land of the Philistines.Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I
Francis Augustus Cox
Not one among them dares to give the philistines a slap in the face.His Masterpiece
I was in Gaza, gagged and bound; the Philistines hemmed me in.The Golden Age
"The Philistines be upon thee, Samson," cried Csar, and with that there was a struggle.The Manxman
- 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 philistines
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.