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See also: philistine



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 Hebrewפְּלִשְׁתִּים(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.[1]

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.[1]

The adjective is derived from the noun. For the etymology of the "ignorant person" sense, see philistine.



Philistine (plural Philistines or (archaic) Philistim)

  1. (historical) A non-Semitic person from ancient Philistia, a region in the southwest Levant in the Middle East.
    Synonyms: (obsolete) Philistee, (archaic, rare) Philistian
  2. (figurative, frequently humorous, usually in the plural) An opponent (of the speaker, writer, etc); an enemy, a foe.
  3. (university slang, historical) In German universities: a person not associated with the university; a non-academic or non-student; a townsperson.
    Synonyms: (both archaic) philister, Philister
  4. Alternative letter-case form of philistine (a person who is ignorant or uneducated; specifically, a person who lacks appreciation of or is antagonistic towards art or culture, and who has pedestrian tastes)
    It is Shakespearean, you Philistine!

Related terms[edit]



Philistine (comparative more Philistine, superlative most Philistine)

  1. (historical) Originating from ancient Philistia; of or pertaining to the ancient Philistines.
    Synonym: (archaic, rare) Philistian
  2. Alternative letter-case form of philistine (ignorant or uneducated; specifically, lacking appreciation for or antagonistic towards art or culture, and having pedestrian tastes).
    • 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, →OCLC, 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.
    • 2002, Louis Auchincloss, “The Heiress”, in Manhattan Monologues, New York, N.Y.: Houghton Mifflin Company, →ISBN, page 33:
      Miles was taken seriously by the great dames of Manhattan society and was not scorned by even the most Philistine of their husbands.



Further reading[edit]