noun, often capitalized
pha·​raoh | \ ˈfer-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce pharaoh (audio) , ˈfā-(ˌ)rō How to pronounce pharaoh (audio) \

Definition of pharaoh

1 : a ruler of ancient Egypt
2 : tyrant

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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 The other five were a golden retriever (sporting), a pharaoh hound (hound), a Siberian husky (working), a soft-coated wheaten terrier (terrier), and an old English sheepdog (herding). Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post, "A beefy bulldog named Thor hammers the competition to win National Dog Show," 28 Nov. 2019 Numerous depictions feature the head gear at festive banquets, or award ceremonies conducted before the pharaoh. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Ancient Egyptian Head Cones Were Real, Grave Excavations Suggest," 11 Dec. 2019 The site was occupied for no more than about 15 years during the 14th century B.C.E. while Egypt was under the rule of the pharaoh who gave the location its name, Akhenaten. Colin Barras, Science | AAAS, "These mysterious Egyptian head cones actually existed, grave find reveals," 10 Dec. 2019 The boats were then painted, decorated and stocked with enough goods to see a pharaoh through eternity. Michelle Green, New York Times, "A Nile Journey Guided by 19th-Century Women," 11 Nov. 2019 The pharaoh who eluded the Victorians, of course, was Tutankhamun. Michelle Green, New York Times, "A Nile Journey Guided by 19th-Century Women," 11 Nov. 2019 In 2007, King Tutankhamen’s face was unveiled for the first time to the public more than 3,000 years after the pharaoh was buried in his Egyptian tomb., "In 1956, Soviet troops moved in to crush the Hungarian Revolution.," 4 Nov. 2019 Sneferu, a pharaoh who ruled over Egypt in the 25th century B.C., commissioned the pyramid, which was the first to be built at Dahshūr. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Egypt Opens Its ‘Bent Pyramid’ For the First Time in More Than 50 Years," 17 July 2019 After Taharqa, there was only one more black pharaoh. National Geographic, "Episode 4: Scuba diving in a pyramid," 2 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pharaoh.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pharaoh

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

History and Etymology for pharaoh

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

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Time Traveler for pharaoh

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pharaoh

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pharaoh.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for pharaoh


How to pronounce pharaoh (audio) How to pronounce pharaoh (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pharaoh

: a ruler of ancient Egypt


noun, often capitalized
pha·​raoh | \ ˈfer-ō How to pronounce pharaoh (audio) \

Kids Definition of pharaoh

: a ruler of ancient Egypt

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Comments on pharaoh

What made you want to look up pharaoh? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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