- 1a member of an ancient people living in what is now Israel and Palestine and, according to biblical tradition, descended from the patriarch Jacob, grandson of Abraham. After the Exodus (circa 1300 bc) they established the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and their scriptures and traditions form the basis of the Jewish religion.
- old-fashioned and sometimes offensive term for Jew.
Hebrew is written from right to left in a characteristic alphabet of twenty-two consonants, the vowels sometimes being marked by additional signs. From about ad 500 it was almost entirely restricted to Jewish religious use, but it was revived as a spoken language in the 19th century and, with a vocabulary extended by borrowing from contemporary languages, is now the official language of the state of Israel
from Old French Ebreu, via Latin from late Greek Hebraios, from Aramaic ῾iḇray, based on Hebrew ῾iḇrî understood to mean 'one from the other side (of the river)'