Definition of ephebe in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɛˈfiːb/
Pronunciation: /ɪˈfiːb/ Pronunciation: /ˈɛfiːb/


(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: /ɛˈfiːbɪk/ Pronunciation: /ɪˈfiːbɪk/
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.


Late 19th centuryː via Latin from Greek ephēbos 'adolescent boy', from epi 'near to' + hēbē 'youth, early manhood'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: eph¦ebe

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