je·​hu ˈjē-(ˌ)hyü How to pronounce jehu (audio)
capitalized : a king of Israel in the ninth century b.c. who according to the account in II Kings had Jezebel killed in accordance with Elijah's prophecy
: a driver of a coach or cab

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Originally a commander of chariots for Ahab, king of Israel, Jehu later led a revolt against the throne and became king himself. In the Bible, it is noted of Jehu that "he drives furiously" (II Kings 9:20). In the 17th century, English speakers began using jehu as a generic term meaning "coachman" or, specifically, "a fast or reckless coachman." Today, we are more likely to use the word in reference to reckless cabdrivers. The phrase drives like Jehu is encountered occasionally, too.

Word History


Hebrew Yēhū

First Known Use

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of jehu was in 1560


Dictionary Entries Near jehu

Cite this Entry

“Jehu.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

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