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[dih-sahy-puh l] /dɪˈsaɪ pəl/
  1. one of the 12 personal followers of Christ.
  2. one of the 70 followers sent forth by Christ. Luke 10:1.
  3. any other professed follower of Christ in His lifetime.
any follower of Christ.
(initial capital letter) a member of the Disciples of Christ.
a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower:
a disciple of Freud.
verb (used with object), discipled, discipling.
Archaic. to convert into a disciple.
Obsolete. to teach; train.
Origin of disciple
before 900; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin discipulus, equivalent to dis- dis-1 + -cip(ere), combining form of capere to take + -ulus -ule; replacing Middle English deciple < Anglo-French de(s)ciple; replacing Old English discipul < Latin, as above
Related forms
disciplelike, adjective
discipleship, noun
4. See pupil1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for disciples
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had however his disciples, who followed in the path which he suggested.

  • The book of Christianity must be interpreted by the disciples of Christianity.

    Understanding the Scriptures Francis McConnell
  • The disciples of a patient Savior should be patient themselves.

    Brave Men and Women O.E. Fuller
  • Fie had collected twenty-four of us, whom he called his 'disciples,' and shamed am I to say, I was one.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • For these reasons the number of Eibeschtz's disciples yearly increased, and counted by thousands.

British Dictionary definitions for disciples


a follower of the doctrines of a teacher or a school of thought
one of the personal followers of Christ (including his 12 apostles) during his earthly life
Derived Forms
discipleship, noun
discipular (dɪˈsɪpjʊlə) adjective
Word Origin
Old English discipul, from Latin discipulus pupil, from discere to learn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for disciples



Old English discipul (fem. discipula), Biblical borrowing from Latin discipulus "pupil, student, follower," said to be from discere "to learn" [OED, Watkins], from a reduplicated form of PIE root *dek- "to take, accept" (see decent).

But according to Barnhart and Klein, from a lost compound *discipere "to grasp intellectually, analyze thoroughly," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + capere "to take, take hold of" (see capable). Cf. Latin capulus "handle" from capere. Sometimes glossed in Old English by þegn (see thane).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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disciples in Culture

disciples definition

The followers of Jesus, who adhered to his teaching and transmitted it to others. The Twelve Apostles were the disciples closest to Jesus.

Note: In general, a disciple is an active follower of a leader or movement, religious or otherwise.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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disciples in the Bible

a scholar, sometimes applied to the followers of John the Baptist (Matt. 9:14), and of the Pharisees (22:16), but principally to the followers of Christ. A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice, (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example (Matt. 10:24; Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 6:69).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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