Share this entry
Maccabees Syllabification: Mac·ca·bees
Pronunciation: /ˈmakəˌbēz/

Definition of Maccabees in English:

plural noun

1The members or followers of the family of the Jewish leader Judas Maccabaeus.
Example sentences
  • The second miracle, mentioned in our Chanukah prayers, was the miraculous defeat of the Greek army by the much smaller Jewish forces under the Maccabees.
  • But it was also a civil war among Jews, because - as in the time of the Maccabees - the Jewish upper class, largely Hellenized, was identified with the sins of the Greeks.
  • That's the promise the Maccabees made to the Jews of their time.
1.1 (in full the Books of the Maccabees) Four books of Jewish history and theology, of which the first and second are in the Apocrypha and feature Judas Maccabaeus.


Pronunciation: /ˌmakəˈbēən/
Example sentences
  • The book of Daniel, written at the height of the Maccabean revolt, dwells on the same themes of cultural and religious resistance to foreign invaders and their customs.
  • Still, given the distinctiveness of each text and the likely Maccabean context of the Animal Apocalypse, a tentative proposal can be offered.
  • Such an identification may indeed have had rhetorical effect if the Animal Apocalypse was written sometime during the Maccabean revolt.


Late Middle English: from Latin Maccabaeus, an epithet applied to Judas, perhaps from Hebrew maqqeḇeṯ 'hammer' (by association with the religious revolt led by Judas).

Definition of Maccabees 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