phar·​i·​see | \ ˈfer-ə-(ˌ)sē How to pronounce pharisee (audio) , ˈfa-rə- \

Definition of pharisee

1 capitalized : a member of a Jewish sect of the intertestamental period noted for strict observance of rites and ceremonies of the written law and for insistence on the validity of their own oral traditions concerning the law
2 : a pharisaical person

First Known Use of pharisee

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

History and Etymology for pharisee

Middle English pharise, from Old English farise, from Late Latin pharisaeus, from Greek pharisaios, from Aramaic pĕrīshayyā, plural of pĕrīshā, literally, separated

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

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Cite this Entry

“Pharisee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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