[ vohl-tair, vol-; French vawl-ter ]
/ voʊlˈtɛər, vɒl-; French vɔlˈtɛr /


François Marie Arouet, 1694–1778, French philosopher, historian, satirist, dramatist, and essayist.

Related formsVol·tair·e·an, Vol·tair·i·an, adjective, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for voltaire

British Dictionary definitions for voltaire


/ (vɒlˈtɛə, vəʊl-, French vɔltɛr) /


pseudonym of François Marie Arouet. 1694–1778, French writer, whose outspoken belief in religious, political, and social liberty made him the embodiment of the 18th-century Enlightenment. His major works include Lettres philosophiques (1734) and the satire Candide (1759). He also wrote plays, such as Zaïre (1732), poems, and scientific studies. He suffered several periods of banishment for his radical views
Derived FormsVoltairean or Voltairian, adjective, 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 voltaire


name taken from 1718 by French author François Marie Arouet (1694-1778) after his imprisonment in the Bastille on suspicion of having written some satirical verses; originally de Voltaire. The signification is uncertain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for voltaire


[ (vohl-tair, vol-tair) ]

The nom de plume of François Arouet, an eighteenth-century French philosopher and author and a major figure of the Enlightenment. Voltaire was known as a wit and freethinker. The most famous of his works is Candide.

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.