an inhabitant of Samaria.
(often lowercase) one who is compassionate and helpful to a person in distress.
any of the dialects of Aramaic spoken by the Samaritans in ancient Israel and until recently still spoken in Nablus.


pertaining to Samaria or to Samaritans.

Origin of Samaritan

before 1000; Middle English, Old English < Late Latin samarītānus < Greek samarī́t(ēs) dweller in Samaria + -ānus -an
Related formsSa·mar·i·tan·ism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for samaritan

do-gooder, humanitarian, Johnny-on-the-spot, Samaritan

Examples from the Web for samaritan

Contemporary Examples of samaritan

Historical Examples of samaritan

  • He next proceeded to learn the Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan dialects.


    Samuel Smiles

  • The testimony of a Samaritan could not be heard before a Jewish tribunal.

    Jesus the Christ

    James Edward Talmage

  • Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

    Jesus the Christ

    James Edward Talmage

  • The man who smokes, thinks like a sage and acts like a Samaritan.

    Familiar Quotations

    John Bartlett

  • There were none that returned to give thanks save this Samaritan.

British Dictionary definitions for samaritan



a native or inhabitant of Samaria
short for Good Samaritan
a member of a voluntary organization (the Samaritans) which offers counselling to people in despair, esp by telephone
the dialect of Aramaic spoken in Samaria


of or relating to Samaria
Derived FormsSamaritanism, noun
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 samaritan



Old English, "inhabitant of Samaria," a district of Palestine, from Late Latin Samaritanus, from Greek Samareia (see Samaria). A non-Hebrew race was settled in its cities by the king of Assyria after the removal of the Israelites from the country. They later adopted some Jewish ways, but largely remained apart. Figurative use with reference to the good Samaritan is first recorded 1630s, from Luke x:33. Related: Samaritanism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with samaritan


see good Samaritan.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.