Definition of pharaoh in US English:



  • A ruler in ancient Egypt.

    • ‘In 1923, the world was fascinated with news of the discovery of the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen.’
    • ‘In dynastic Egypt, pharaohs celebrated the ‘Sed’ festival at Karnak in which the king was ritually killed and reborn, symbolising the replenishment of his energies.’
    • ‘Khufu was the first pharaoh to build a pyramid at Giza.’
    • ‘The Egyptians under the Hyksos pharaohs invaded the Near East, and then came to Greece.’
    • ‘The pharaoh was a sacrosanct monarch who served as the intermediary between the gods and man.’
    • ‘Such iron was used in making the sacred crook of Osiris held by the pharaohs of Egypt.’
    • ‘They claim a tattered and neglected mummy found in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings is probably Queen Nefertiti, stepmother of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun.’
    • ‘Pyramids are tombs built for Egypt's pharaohs.’
    • ‘According to most beliefs, pyramids were built with the help of great armies of slaves, by the ancient pharaohs of Egypt as tombs for preserving their royal bodies.’
    • ‘The house features a stone replica of a sphinx at the front door and a statue of the pharaoh Tuthmosis III brought from Luxor in Egypt in the entrance hall.’
    • ‘Perfumes used by the Egyptian pharaohs have been recreated using hieroglyphics and Napoleonic treasure.’
    • ‘Visions of exotic beauties like Nefertiti, legends of mummified pharaohs and the towering presence of the pyramids have made Egypt a fantasy place.’
    • ‘They say the pharaoh Khufu who built the Great Pyramid was so obsessed by the construction of his own tomb, he had no money to build tombs for others in his family.’
    • ‘These pharaohs were regarded as gods by the Egyptian people.’
    • ‘At first the pharaohs were buried in underground chambers over which were built rectangular mastabas; these were stone structures housing the food and accoutrements the pharaoh would need in the afterlife.’
    • ‘Cleopatra was the last pharaoh; after her death Egypt became a Roman province.’
    • ‘The pharaohs of ancient Egypt prohibited commoners from even touching them.’
    • ‘Another high economic growth period was certainly the time after a pharaoh had died in ancient Egypt and the economy was put under the command to erect a new pyramid.’
    • ‘The Image of Egypt exhibition features an array of patchwork and embroidery depicting Egypt, pharaohs and pyramids.’
    • ‘The Hebrews were enslaved by the Egyptian pharaohs until 1250 B.C. when their leader, Moses, led them on an exodus out of Egypt to the Sinai peninsula.’


Middle English: via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek Pharaō, from Hebrew par‘ōh, from Egyptian pr-‘o ‘great house’.