Share this entry
ephebe Syllabification: e·phebe
Pronunciation: /ˈefēb/

Definition of ephebe in English:


(In ancient Greece) a young man of 18-20 years undergoing military training.
Example sentences
  • An ephebe describes a teenage boy in ancient Greece (but could also describe most of the male characters in the musical Grease).
  • By the 330s, ephebes received a full year of training in hoplite fighting, archery, javelin-throwing, and catapult-firing, followed by a year of patrol duty.
  • Finally, a Cretan youth was allowed only one garment, the Attic ephebe wore a black garment, and in certain mystery cults initiates were required to wear white clothing.


Pronunciation: /iˈfēbik/ /eˈfēbik/
Example sentences
  • Athens went some way towards bridging the social and cultural gap between these types of fighting men by reforming ephebic training, but the gulf between Greeks and Macedonians remained wide.
  • Another Athenian relief which shows Herakles next to his columnar shrine, and a boy in front of him, probably refers to the oinisteria and the ephebic introduction.
  • You can't be too careful, with uncastrated, ephebic sophomore mules, wherever you go in the world.


Via Latin from Greek ephēbos 'adolescent boy', from epi 'near to' + hēbē 'early manhood'.

Definition of ephebe in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources