a. A member of an ancient Semitic people claiming descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; an Israelite.
b. A descendant of this people; a Jew.
a. The Semitic language of the ancient Hebrews.
b. Any of the various later forms of this language, especially the language of the Israelis.
3. Hebrews (used with a sing. verb) See Table at Bible.
[Middle English Ebreu, from Old French, from Latin Hebraeus, Hebraic, from Greek Hebraios, from Aramaic 'ibrāy, from Hebrew 'ibrî.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.