Late Latin, from Greek Ioudith, from Hebrew Yĕhūdhīth
First Known Use: before 12th century
Legendary Jewish heroine, the central character in the Book of Judith in the Apocrypha. (The book is excluded from the Hebrew Bible.) A beautiful Jewish widow whose city is besieged by the Assyrians under their general, Holofernes, Judith leaves the city in pretended flight and foretells victory to Holofernes. Invited into his tent, she cuts off his head as he lies in a drunken sleep, and the Jews defeat the leaderless Assyrians. Probably fictional, the story may have been written in the 2nd century BC, after the end of the Maccabean revolt.