• synonyms


[suh-fahr-dim, -fahr-deem]
plural noun, singular Se·phar·di [suh-fahr-dee, suh-fahr-dee] /səˈfɑr di, sə fɑrˈdi/.
  1. Jews of Spain and Portugal or their descendants, distinguished from the Ashkenazim and other Jewish communities chiefly by their liturgy, religious customs, and pronunciation of Hebrew: after expulsion from Spain and Portugal in 1492, established communities in North Africa, the Balkans, Western Europe, and elsewhere.
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Origin of Sephardim

1850–55; < Modern Hebrew Səphāraddīm, plural of Səphāraddī, equivalent to < Hebrew Səphāradh (region mentioned in Bible (Obadiah 20) and assumed to be Spain) + suffix of appurtenance
Related formsSe·phar·dic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sephardim

Historical Examples

  • For the following, compare Kayserling, Sephardim, p. 250 ff.

    Jewish Literature and Other Essays

    Gustav Karpeles

  • The Sephardim all wear the dignified and beautiful Oriental costume.

    Cities of the Dawn

    J. Ewing Ritchie

  • All the Sephardim I visit have black pages—much grander than Wilkinson—and they tremble at my nod.

    The King of Schnorrers

    Israel Zangwill

  • The Sephardim (Jews who have lived here for years) eat their meals in the courtyard.

  • Weisbach gives us the best description of the Sephardim Jew as to-day found at Constantinople.

Word Origin and History for sephardim


plural of Sephardi "a Spanish or Portuguese Jew" (1851), from Modern Hebrew Sepharaddim "Spaniards, Jews of Spain," from Sepharad, name of a country mentioned only in Obad. v:20, probably meaning "Asia Minor" or a part of it (Lydia, Phrygia), but identified by the rabbis after the Jonathan Targum as "Spain." Related: Sephardic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper