Is·​ra·​el | \ ˈiz-rē-əl How to pronounce Israel (audio) , -(ˌ)rā- How to pronounce Israel (audio) also ˈis- or ˈiz-rəl \

Definition of Israel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : the Jewish people
3 : a people chosen by God


geographical name
Is·​ra·​el | \ ˈiz-rē(-ə)l How to pronounce Israel (audio) , -(ˌ)rā(-ə)l also ˈis- or ˈiz-rəl \

Definition of Israel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 kingdom in ancient Palestine comprising the lands occupied by the Hebrew people; established about 1025 b.c.; divided about 933 b.c. into a southern kingdom (Judah) and a northern kingdom (Israel)
2 or Northern Kingdom or Ephraim \ ˈē-​frē-​əm How to pronounce Israel (audio) \ the northern portion of the Hebrew kingdom after the division; capital Samaria
3 country in southwestern Asia bordering on the Mediterranean Sea in the northwest, the Sinai Peninsula in the southwest, the Gulf of Aqaba at the southern tip, and the Dead Sea on the east; a republic established 1948; capital Jerusalem area 7993 square miles (20,782 square kilometers), population 7,412,200 — see palestine — see also israeli

Other Words from Israel


Israel adjective

First Known Use of Israel


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for Israel


Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Greek Israēl, from Hebrew Yiśrā'ēl

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The first known use of Israel was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near Israel



Israel ben Eliezer

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Cite this Entry

“Israel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on Israel

Nglish: Translation of Israel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of Israel for Arabic Speakers


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