Definition of philistine in English:

philistine

noun

  • A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.

    ‘I am a complete philistine when it comes to paintings’
    • ‘Of course none of this will convince the philistines who believe that making music this good involves nothing more complex than a good mains supply.’
    • ‘Call me a heathen if you will, call me a philistine if the whim takes you, but I don't understand most modern art.’
    • ‘Ignore the doom-mongers and philistines - it is both possible and desirable to rescue Venice from sinking into the sea.’
    • ‘Call me a philistine, but his experimental noise, if it can be charitably described as such, could make hounds howl.’
    • ‘Creative expression never needs to justify itself to philistines, who from time out of mind have never seen art as "serious."’
    • ‘Some of these arguments are important and valid for protecting ambitious contemporary art as a whole from philistines and iconophobes.’
    • ‘To put this bluntly, art and its processes have always been incomprehensible to philistines and ideologues on the right and left.’
    • ‘Seeing his work here does give some context, even if I am a complete philistine when it comes to paintings.’
    • ‘"I find it is difficult for anyone but a philistine to resist the lure of great picture book art."’
    • ‘For Adorno, a philistine is someone who can only experience the work as a mere thing.’
    • ‘He has always compared the job of gallery boss to that of an evangelist, and viewed philistines as candidates for conversion rather than a mob to cower from.’
    • ‘I'm a bit of philistine when it comes to art; I don't have much time for it and art galleries make me feel sleepy.’
    • ‘Such a project, once built, would change the history of architecture; and those who built it would, ten or 20 years hence, look not like philistines but visionaries.’
    • ‘Complete philistines may even be interested in the fact that the steps leading to the museum are those which featured in the Rocky movie when the boxer finished his training run.’
    • ‘When he came to this country in the 1960s, he says, it was a 'land of culinary philistines' - and sometimes he wonders whether things have really changed much at all.’
    • ‘When asked how long they spent making something, most artists assume that the questioner is a philistine.’
    • ‘Of course, I guess it's possible that these books are all pretty well known to literate Americans and I'm just a philistine.’
    • ‘Call me a philistine, but I have small patience for Samuel Beckett, can tolerate only small doses of serial atonality, and am bored numb by recitative.’
    • ‘This is the sort of film critics go for, because they know the bourgeoisie will hate it and they're afraid if they don't ramble on about its brilliance and authenticity, they'll look like philistines to all their peers.’
    • ‘There are some philistines out there who claim that all of Jack and Meg's records sound the same.’
    • ‘Like others of my generation, I look smugly down on the philistines of 1960 who couldn't see the self-evident greatness of Psycho, now widely viewed as one of the most brilliant achievements of the American screen.’
    lowbrow, anti-intellectual, materialist, bourgeois
    boor, ignoramus, lout, oaf, barbarian, primitive, savage, brute, yahoo, vulgarian
    View synonyms

adjective

  • Hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts.

    ‘a philistine government’
    ‘there were displays to inspire even the most philistine of visitors’
    • ‘The damage to the intellectual and moral fabric of society resulting from such a mercenary and philistine approach is impossible to quantify.’
    • ‘There were some amazing works there, although I'm sure they were completely wasted on my philistine eyes.’
    • ‘In that influential 1964 text, Sontag denounced what she termed a reactionary and philistine tendency to bury works of art underneath theory-heavy interpretations.’
    • ‘A prescriptive list of buildings meriting destruction, however, is simply philistine.’
    • ‘"I don't think Joe Public is quite as philistine as is imagined," he murmurs.’
    • ‘We are worried that the building - just before its centenary - will be traded by philistine property speculators.’
    • ‘Its detractors found it philistine, and indeed there are few mentions in the novel of any intellectual pursuits.’
    • ‘The assault upon the English universities is so violent and philistine it represents the academic equivalent of the dissolution of the monasteries.’
    • ‘As the appalling media response to the Momart fire has reminded us, what art needs most is defending from the philistine hordes.’
    • ‘Such cuts are also an expression of cultural vandalism and philistine indifference.’
    • ‘The culture of these two cities has grown steadily more philistine.’
    • ‘Worst of all, the play spends an inordinate amount of time making the kind of philistine pronouncements about abstract and conceptual art that people who know nothing about art always make.’
    • ‘And as yet another example of perhaps the only serious British contribution to 20th century architecture faces demolition, is there any other art form about which we could be so utterly, wilfully philistine?’
    • ‘Already this year, the city has revealed itself to be unusually philistine in the fields of architecture and art.’
    • ‘Now granted, our popular culture can at times be philistine - whichever country's can't?’
    • ‘This is a philistine agenda, subjecting universities' research and teaching to the narrow interests of the British economy.’
    • ‘The policy is philistine, expensive and environmentally disastrous.’
    • ‘Beneath this undercurrent of grumbling is the philistine assumption that it is elitist or irrelevant to consider art which does not excite the mass market.’
    crass, tasteless, uncultured, uncultivated, uneducated, untutored, unenlightened, unread, commercial, materialist, bourgeois, unsophisticated, unrefined
    boorish, barbarian, barbarous, barbaric, primitive, savage, brutish, loutish, oafish, uncivilized, uncouth, vulgar, coarse, rough
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century: from Philistine, originally with reference to a confrontation between university students and townspeople in Jena, Germany, in the late 17th century; a sermon on the conflict quoted “the Philistines are upon you” (Judges 16), which led to an association between the townspeople and those hostile to culture.

Pronunciation:

philistine

/ˈfiləˌstēn/

Definition of Philistine in English:

Philistine

noun

  • A member of a non-Semitic people of ancient southern Palestine, who came into conflict with the Israelites during the 12th and 11th centuries BC.

    • ‘The Philistines were a seafaring people who inhabited the coast of Israel and Lebanon in the area of Gaza-Ashdod-Jaffa.’
    • ‘When the Israelites asked for a king to lead them against the Philistines, Samuel warned them that he would become a tyrant.’
    • ‘The Canaanites suffered a series of setbacks in the late 2nd millennium bc with attacks from the sea peoples in the north while in the south they were displaced by the Israelites and the Philistines.’
    • ‘Saul was killed in battle against the Philistines before David became king of all Israel.’
    • ‘Yet in the end, the sculpture works its magic; just as the biblical David defeated the ancient Philistines, his statue conquers the modern American philistines.’

Origin

Old English: from late Latin Philistinus from Greek Philistinos, from Hebrew pĕlištī: compare with Palestine. See also philistine.

Pronunciation:

Philistine

/ˈfiləˌstēn/