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From the Latin Isrāēlīta (Israelite), from the Ancient Greek Ἰσρᾱηλῑ́της (Isrāēlī́tēs, Israelite), from Ἰσρᾱήλ (Isrāḗl, Israel), from the Hebrew יִשְׂרָאֵל(Yiśrāʼēl, Israel).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɪz.ɹi.əˌlaɪt/, /ˈɪz.ɹɨˌlaɪt/, /ˈɪz.ɹeɪ.əˌlaɪt/


Israelite (plural Israelites)

  1. A native or inhabitant of (i) the united nation of Israel (under the Judges, and then kings Saul, David and Solomon), or (ii) the later northern kingdom centered in Samaria, distinct from kingdom of Judah centered in Jerusalem.
  2. A member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel and a descendant of Jacob.
    Hyponyms: cohen, Jew, Levite, Samaritan
  3. A member of the Jewish people who is neither a cohen nor a Levite.
  4. (historical) A club used as a weapon by the Circumcellions.



Israelite (not comparable)

  1. Of or pertaining to the ancient nation(s) of Israel or the inhabitants thereof.
  2. (rare, chiefly in Protestantism) Of or pertaining to the descendants of the patriarch Jacob.
    Hyponyms: Jewish, Samaritan

Usage notes[edit]

Israeli is the noun and adjective for the modern state of Israel and its people, and is not to be confused with Israelite. The usage to mean "pertaining to a descendant of Jacob" is rare, very narrowly confined to religious (mainly Protestant) contexts.