Hebrew


Hebrew
/hee"brooh/, n.
1. a member of the Semitic peoples inhabiting ancient Palestine and claiming descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; an Israelite.
2. a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic family, the language of the ancient Hebrews, which, although not in a vernacular use from 100 B.C. to the 20th century, was retained as the scholarly and liturgical language of Jews and is now the national language of Israel. Abbr.: Heb
adj.
3. Hebraic.
4. noting or pertaining to the script developed from the Aramaic and early Hebraic alphabets, used since about the 3rd century B.C. for the writing of Hebrew, and later for Yiddish, Ladino, and other languages.
[bef. 1000; ME Hebreu, var. (with H- < L) of Ebreu < OF < ML Ebreus for L Hebraeus < LGk Hebraîos < Aram 'Ibhraij; r. OE Ebreas (pl.) < ML Ebrei]

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(as used in expressions)

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people
      any member of an ancient northern Semitic people that were the ancestors of the Jews. Historians use the term Hebrews to designate the descendants of the patriarchs of the Old Testament (i.e., Abraham, Isaac, and so on) from that period until their conquest of Canaan (Palestine) in the late 2nd millennium BC. Thenceforth these people are referred to as Israelites until their return from the Babylonian Exile in the late 6th century BC, from which time on they became known as Jews.

      In the Bible the patriarch Abraham is referred to a single time as the ivri, which is the singular form of the Hebrew-language word for Hebrew (plural ivrim, or ibrim). But the term Hebrew almost always occurs in the Old Testament as a name given to the Israelites by other peoples, rather than one used by themselves. For that matter, the origins of the term Hebrew itself are uncertain. It could be derived from the word eber, or ever, a Hebrew word meaning the “other side” and conceivably referring again to Abraham, who crossed into the land of Canaan from the “other side” of the Euphrates or Jordan rivers. The name “Hebrew” could also be related to the seminomadic Habiru people, who are recorded in Egyptian inscriptions of the 13th and 12th centuries BC as having settled in Egypt.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hebrew —     Hebrew Language and Literature     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Hebrew Language and Literature     Hebrew was the language spoken by the ancient Israelites, and in which were composed nearly all of the books of the Old Testament. The name Hebrew …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hebrew — He brew, n. [F. H[ e]breu, L. Hebraeus, Gr. ?, fr. Heb. ibhr[=i].] 1. An appellative of Abraham or of one of his descendants, esp. in the line of Jacob; an Israelite; a Jew. [1913 Webster] There came one that had escaped and told Abram the Hebrew …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hebrew — He brew, a. Of or pertaining to the Hebrews; as, the Hebrew language or rites. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hebrew — (adj.) late O.E., from O.Fr. Ebreu, from L. Hebraeus, from Gk. Hebraios, from Aramaic ebhrai, corresponding to Heb. ibhri an Israelite, lit. one from the other side, in reference to the River Euphrates, or perhaps simply signifying immigrant;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Hebrew — ► NOUN 1) a member of an ancient people living in what is now Israel and Palestine, who established the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. 2) the Semitic language of the Hebrews, in its ancient or modern form. 3) old fashioned and sometimes offensive… …   English terms dictionary

  • Hebrew — [hē′broo΄] n. [ME Hebreu < OFr < L Hebraeus < Gr Hebraios < Aram ivray < Heb ivri, lit., ? one from across (the Euphrates River)] 1. any member of a group of Semitic peoples tracing descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Israelite …   English World dictionary

  • Hebrew — [[t]hi͟ːbruː[/t]] Hebrews 1) N UNCOUNT Hebrew is a language that was spoken by Jews in former times. A modern form of Hebrew is spoken now in Israel. He is a fluent speaker of Hebrew. 2) N COUNT In former times, a Hebrew was a Jewish person.… …   English dictionary

  • Hebrew — /ˈhibru / (say heebrooh) noun 1. a member of that branch of the Semitic people descended from the line of Abraham; an Israelite; a Jewish person. 2. a Semitic language in either classical or modern form: a. Classical Hebrew or Biblical Hebrew,… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Hebrew — I UK [ˈhiːbruː] / US [ˈhɪˌbru] noun Word forms Hebrew : singular Hebrew plural Hebrews 1) [uncountable] one of the official languages of Israel. It is a modern form of the older language that the Old Testament was written in. 2) [countable] a… …   English dictionary

  • Hebrew —    A name applied to the Israelites in Scripture only by one who is a foreigner (Gen. 39:14, 17; 41:12, etc.), or by the Israelites when they speak of themselves to foreigners (40:15; Ex. 1:19), or when spoken of an contrasted with other peoples… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary


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