[ sawl ]

  1. the first king of Israel. 1 Samuel 9.

  2. Also called Saul of Tar·sus [sawluhv tahr-suhs] /ˈsɔl ʌv ˈtɑr səs/ . the original name of the apostle Paul. Acts 9:1–30; 22:3.

  1. a male given name.

Origin of Saul

From Late Latin Saul, from Greek Saoúl, from Hebrew Shāʾūl “asked for (from God)”

Words Nearby Saul Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use Saul in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Saul


/ (sɔːl) /

  1. Old Testament the first king of Israel (?1020–1000 bc). He led Israel successfully against the Philistines, but was in continual conflict with the high priest Samuel. He became afflicted with madness and died by his own hand; succeeded by David

  2. New Testament the name borne by Paul prior to his conversion (Acts 9: 1–30)

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

Cultural definitions for Saul


The first king of Israel, who battled repeatedly with the Philistines. He often felt great despair, which was soothed by David playing his harp. Saul later became jealous of David and tried to have him killed in battle. After a prophesied defeat by the Philistines, Saul killed himself.

Notes for Saul

Saul was also the Apostle Paul's original name.

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.