One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The members or followers of the family of the Jewish leader Judas Maccabaeus.
- ‘Armed with these stories, the Maccabees and their followers used guerrilla tactics to win the first national liberation struggle in recorded history.’
- ‘A small band of Jews, known as the Maccabees, refused to succumb.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- 1.1 Four books of Jewish history and theology, of which the first and second are in the Apocrypha and feature Judas Maccabaeus.
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).
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