The noun is derived from Middle English Philistyne, Philisten [and other forms], from Old English Filistina, Fillestina (genitive plural), from Old French Philistin (modern French Philistin) and Late Latin Philistinus, from Koine Greek Φυλιστῖνοι (Phulistînoi), a variant of Φυλιστιίμ (Phulistiím), Φυλιστιείμ (Phulistieím) (compare Koine Greek Παλαιστῖνοι (Palaistînoi)), from Hebrew פְּלִשְׁתִּים (p'lishtím, plural noun), from פְּלִשְׁתִּי (p'lishtí, “Philistine”, adjective), from פְּלֶשֶׁת (p'léshet, “Philistia”). The English word is cognate with Akkadian 𒆳𒉿𒇺𒋫 (KURpi-lis-ta, “Pilistu”), 𒆳𒉺𒆷𒊍𒌓 (KURpa-la-as-tu₂ /Palastu/), 𒆳𒉿𒇺𒋫𒀀𒀀 (KURpi-liš-ta-a-a /Pilištayu/, “(people) of the Pilištu lands”), and is a doublet of Palestine.
The archaic noun plural form Philistim is from Middle English Philistiim [and other forms], from Late Latin Philisthiim, from Koine Greek Φυλιστιίμ (Phulistiím), Φυλιστιείμ (Phulistieím); see further above.
The adjective is derived from the noun.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈfɪlɪstaɪn/
Audio (RP) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈfɪlɪˌstaɪn/, /-lə-/, /-stin/, /fɪˈlɪstin/
Audio (GA) (file) Audio (GA) (file) Audio (AU) (file)
- Hyphenation: Phi‧list‧ine
- (historical) A non-Semitic person from ancient Philistia, a region in the southwest Levant in the Middle East.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981, Judges 16:23, column 1:
- Then the lords of the Philiſtines gathered them together, for to offer a great ſacrifice vnto Dagon their god, and to reioyce; for they ſaid, Our god hath deliuered Samſon our enemy into our hand.
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter II, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698, page 15:
- 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.
- (figuratively, frequently humorous, usually in the plural) A person who is opposed to oneself; an enemy, a foe.
- 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, “Abbot Hugo”, in Past and Present, New York, N.Y.: William H. Colyer, […], published May 1843, OCLC 10193956, book II (The Ancient Monk), page 44:
- In very truth what could poor old Abbot Hugo do? A frail old man; and the Philistines were upon him,—that is to say, the Hebrews.
- (college slang, historical) In German universities: a person not associated with the university; a non-academic or non-student; a townsperson.
- Alternative letter-case form of
- It is Shakespearean, you Philistine!
- 1824, Thomas Carlyle, “Goethe”, in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe; H[enry] D[uff] Traill, editor, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship and Travels: Translated from the German of Goethe […] (The Works of Thomas Carlyle; XXIII), volume I, centenary edition, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, OCLC 30760879, footnote 1, page 22:
- [W]hen he [Christoph Friedrich Nicolai] wrote against [Immanuel] Kant's philosophy, without comprehending it; and judged of poetry as he judged of Brunswick mum, by its utility, many people thought him wrong. A man of such spiritual habilitudes is now by the Germans called a Philister, Philistine: Nicolai earned for himself the painful pre-eminence of being Erz-Philister, Arch-Philistine. [...] At present the literary Philistine seldom shows, never parades, himself in Germany; and when he does appear, he is in the last stage of emaciation.
- 1865, Matthew Arnold, “Heinrich Heine”, in Essays in Criticism, London; Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: Macmillan and Co., OCLC 3012869, pages 184–185:
- 1867 July, Matthew Arnold, “Culture and Its Enemies”, in The Cornhill Magazine, volume XVI, number 91, London: Smith, Elder & Co., […], OCLC 561748243, page 42:
- If it were not for this purging effect wrought upon our minds by culture, the whole world, the future as well as the present, would inevitably belong to the Philistines.
- 1868 July 18, “Nicknames”, in Every Saturday: A Journal of Choice Reading, Selected from Foreign Current Literature, volume VI, number 133, Boston, Mass.: Fields, Osgood, & Co., successors to Ticknor and Fields, OCLC 123899278, page 92, column 1:
- Even the most pig-headed vestry-man feels that something unpleasant has been said about him when he has been called a Philistine, though he may have the vaguest possible conception of its precise meaning. [...] It is used so vaguely by people who are themselves Philistines of the deepest dye, that it is in danger of losing its meaning.
- 1880, “MATTHEW ARNOLD”, in Robert Chambers and Robert Carruthers, editors, Chambers’s Cyclopædia of English Literature […], volume VII, 3rd edition, New York, N.Y.: American Book Exchange, […], OCLC 11919601, page 155:
- Mr. [Matthew] Arnold has no patience with the middle-class ‘Philistines’ the dullards and haters of light, who care only for what is material and practical.
- (historical) Originating from ancient Philistia; of or pertaining to the ancient Philistines.
- Synonym: (archaic, rare) Philistian
- Alternative letter-case form of .
- 1948 September 13, “18th Century England”, in Henry R[obinson] Luce, editor, Life, volume 25, number 11, Chicago, Ill.; New York, N.Y.: Time Inc., ISSN 0024-3019, OCLC 34142982, page 124:
- [Robert] Walpole, moreover, left England not only more corrupt than he found it, but crasser and more Philistine.
- 1991, Nick Doll, Canoeist’s Guide to the North East […], Milnthorpe, Cumbria: Cicerone Press, →ISBN, page 25:
- Visitors to the area are strongly recommended to have a look around the castle, for even the most Philistine of wild water canoeists cannot fail to be impressed by the enormous armoury, fine paintings and wonderful furnishings that seem to outclass all other museums and castles in the North East.