often capitalized
: a ruler of ancient Egypt
: tyrant

Examples of pharaoh in a Sentence

like some pharaoh of a third-world country, more interested in building monuments to himself than in creating a future for his people
Recent Examples on the Web Others took umbrage at an ancient Egyptian art work depicting manual labor, which bore a caption describing how the pharaoh’s workers periodically staged strikes. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2024 Known as Ramses the Great, the pharaoh’s legacy was cemented by a slew of monuments and statues constructed in his name, both during and after his reign. Catherine Duncan, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Mar. 2024 The symbol of the scarab beetle means to come into existence or to continue to exist, which would have been important for a pharaoh hoping for a smooth journey into the afterlife. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 27 Feb. 2024 For instance, historians surmise that as well as gold and precious stones, ancient thieves stole metal razor blades from the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. Chris Baraniuk, WIRED, 20 Feb. 2024 Instead, they had been brought in from the city of Aswan and left at the base of Menkaure’s pyramid, awaiting placement, when construction halted, probably due to the pharaoh’s death. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 Like a mummified pharaoh, Dwayne Johnson's love for his Oscar-winning The Mummy Returns costar Brendan Fraser is, 22 years after the actors appeared together in the blockbuster film, well preserved. Joey Nolfi,, 17 Mar. 2023 Another complex highlight is the Khufu ship, a 20-ton, 4,600-year-old solar barge once owned by the pharaoh Khufu and discovered in 1954 near Egypt’s Great Pyramid. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Jan. 2024 In ancient Egypt, pharaohs were known for keeping falcons, and Amenemhat III famously cared for a crow, consecrating a monument and a tomb to the bird’s memory. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 11 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pharaoh.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English pharao, from Old English, from Late Latin pharaon-, pharao, from Greek pharaō, from Hebrew parʽōh, from Egyptian pr-ʽʾ̹

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of pharaoh was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near pharaoh

Cite this Entry

“Pharaoh.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


pha·​raoh ˈfe(ə)r-ō How to pronounce pharaoh (audio) ˈfa(ə)r- How to pronounce pharaoh (audio)
often capitalized
: a ruler of ancient Egypt

Old English pharao "pharaoh," from Latin pharaon-, pharao (same meaning), from Greek pharaō (same meaning), from Hebrew par'ōh "pharaoh," of Egyptian origin

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