Last modified on 25 May 2014, at 14:32

Philistine

See also: philistine

EnglishEdit

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Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Late Latin Philistinus, from Late Ancient Greek Φυλιστῖνοι (Phulistînoi), from Hebrew פְּלִשְׁתִּים (p'lishtím), from פְּלֶשֶׁת (p'léshet, Philistia).

The sense relating to lack of education and culture was introduced to English by Thomas Carlyle and greatly popularised by Matthew Arnold. It is derived from German student use of the term Philister to refer to the burghers of the town. This apparently derived from the use of the biblical text "the Philistines be upon you, Samson" in a memorial service for a Jena university student who died as the result of a town vs. gown dispute in 1693.

PronunciationEdit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfɪl.ɪ.staɪn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈfɪl.ɪ.staɪn/, /ˈfɪl.ə.stin/, /fɪˈlɪ.stin/
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NounEdit

Philistine (plural Philistines)

  1. A person from ancient Philistia.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible (Authorized Version), Judges 16:23
      Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice;
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, The Celebrity:
      Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. He was dressed out in broad gaiters and bright tweeds, like an English tourist, and his face might have belonged to Dagon, idol of the Philistines.
  2. A person who lacks appreciation of art or culture.
    • 1843 Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 2, ch. 4, Abbot Hugo
      what could poor old Abbot Hugo do? A frail old man; and the Philistines were upon him, – that is to say, the Hebrews.
    • 2005, Plato, Sophist. Translation by Lesley Brown. 259d.
      trying to separate everything from everything else is not just poor taste but is the mark of a total philistine and someone with no feeling for philosophy.
    It is Shakespearean, you philistine!

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

AdjectiveEdit

Philistine (comparative more Philistine, superlative most Philistine)

  1. Of or pertaining to the ancient Philistines.
  2. Lacking appreciation of culture; also philistine.

TranslationsEdit