Pharisee

Pharisee

[far-uh-see]
noun
1.
a member of a Jewish sect that flourished during the 1st century b.c. and 1st century a.d. and that differed from the Sadducees chiefly in its strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, adherence to oral laws and traditions, and belief in an afterlife and the coming of a Messiah.
2.
(lowercase) a sanctimonious, self-righteous, or hypocritical person.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English Pharise, Farise, Old English Farīsēus < Late Latin Pharīsēus, variant of Pharīsaeus < Greek Pharīsaîos < Aramaic pərīshayyā, plural of pərīshā literally, separated

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Pharisee (ˈfærɪˌsiː)
 
n
1.  Judaism a member of an ancient Jewish sect that was opposed to the Sadducees, teaching strict observance of Jewish tradition as interpreted rabbinically and believing in life after death and in the coming of the Messiah
2.  (often not capital) a self-righteous or hypocritical person
 
[Old English Farīsēus, ultimately from Aramaic perīshāiyā, pl of perīsh separated]

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Word Origin & History

Pharisee
O.E. Fariseos, O.Fr. pharise (13c.), both from L.L. Pharisæus, from Gk. Pharisaios, from Aramaic p'rishayya, emphatic plural of p'rish "separated, separatist," corresponding to Heb. parush, from parash "he separated." Ancient Jewish sect (2c. B.C.E.-1c. C.E.) distinguished by strict observance
but regarded as pretentious and self-righteous, at least by Jesus (Matt. xxiii:27). Meaning "self-righteous person, formalist, hypocrite" is attested from 1589.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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